photo via @AmerksHockey on Twitter
Day one of Sabres Development camp has concluded. It was disappointing not to see the likes of Alex Nylander, Marcus Davidsson, Cliff Pu, and a few others on the ice, especially with the news that Nylander won’t skate at all this week. Jason Botterill dismissed any serious injury and said that anyone held out of the skating portion was just for a minor reason. It would’ve been nice to see how Nylander has progressed since last season, but we’ll just have to wait until training camp.
The first session was highlighted by none other than Rasmus Dahlin in his first skate with the team. Dahlin showcased a little bit of everything that has gotten him to this point and you could definitely see improvement in his shot — something he said he’s been working hard on. There was a span of time in one drill where Dahlin went 3/3 picking the top corner twice and waiting out the goalie before sliding it back to the right on the other.
Dahlin’s offensive ability was on display all day, but the play I found most impressive was when he used perfect gap-control and a good poke check to break up a 3-on-1.
Some other notes from the first session
- Victor Olofsson’s shot is as advertised. I was sitting next to a few other Buffalo media members and we were all blown away at some of his goals. Dahlin wasn’t kidding when he said it’s the best shot he’s ever seen.
- Invitee Joe Snively of Yale University had a great day, specifically showcasing a great shot that he seemed to score with almost every drill.
- Brendan Guhle looked great as expected.
- FA signee out of Notre Dame, Andrew Oglevie, looked good as well. Showcased some great speed and a quick release.
Casey Mittelstadt picked up right where he left off this past season. Mittelstadt caught your eye right away and like Dahlin, seems to have improved his shot. He always had a quick release but there was definitely more zip behind the puck than last year’s camp.
Casey dominated in pretty much every area and was far and away the best player in the second session. Multiple highlight real plays that would make your jaw drop, one specifically on a nasty pass to find invitee Pascal Aquin for a goal backdoor after completely faking out the defenseman and everyone in the building. Mittelstadt also showcased his hands on a couple of backhanders upstairs.
Other notes from the second session
- Defensemen Mattias Samuelsson, Lawrence Pilut, Jacob Bryson and Will Borgen showed well in most drills.
- Pilut’s skating ability stood off the page compared to everyone else in the second session. He showcased some nice passing and hands as well. Don’t think it’s long before he’s on the Sabres.
- Rasmus Asplund had a good day, showed nicely in every area
- Linus Weissbach was one of the best forwards of the day. Him in Olofsson are similar in the sense that if you didn’t know before-hand he was a 7th round pick you’d never believe it.
MVP of Day 1: Casey Mittelstadt
As great as Rasmus Dahlin and a few of the others were, Mittelstadt was far and away the best player of the day in my eyes. He scored in all different ways and was continuously making your jaw drop with some of the plays he made. Whether it was a spin pass, quick wrister, or backhand upstairs, he was practically just showing off all session long.
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Speeeeeeeeeeeed. Incredibly quick with good hands. Was constantly making good passes and for a little guy has a bullet of a shot. He matched Mittelstadt’s point totals in the NCAA this year too for those who don’t know. Bizarre he went in the 7th in my eyes, just will need to prove size doesn’t matter when he gets to the next level.
Dahlin and Mittelstadt are locks. Guhle is extremely close to being a lock. Based off skill set alone I think Pilut could absolutely make the team but Botteril already said he’ll start in Rochester. Rasmus Asplund and Victor Olofsson are two more guys who I think have the talent to make the team but knowing Botterill’s philosophy on development they’ll probably be joining Pilut in Rochester. Alex Nylander is a wildcard but the AHL seems his likely starting place at this point.
I got there at 2:15 for the 2:30 session (Dahlin’s was first) and it was pretty much already full. I’d suggest at least 15 minutes prior to the start time.
Follow for more as development camp rolls along