photo via Matt Bove
Day two of Sabres development camp continued with the theme of skill-centered drills from day number one. There was a lot of focus on passing and the practice featured a lot of multi-pass drills ending in a shot on net after a 1-on-1 with the goalie from either super far out (mostly the defense) or in-tight to the net (mostly the forwards). You can get an idea of some of things they were doing from the video below.
The drills today were pretty straight forward and aside from a few guys who really stood out, there wasn’t a whole lot to take notes on like yesterday. I’ll drop some thoughts below, give a quick description of the few who stood out above the rest, and then finish up with today’s twitter questions.
- Casey Mittelstadt picked up right where he left off yesterday showing off his hands in the stick work drills today. His best highlight of the day came in a 2v2 drill small area drill finishing up the day where he kept the puck on a string before ripping a quick wrister past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
- Was cool watching Brendan Guhle go through this drill. Was better than a lot of the forwards at it.
- Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen noticeably had a great day. There weren’t many pucks getting by him throughout the 2nd session, particularly impressive considering the amount of breakaways/one-on-one scenarios throughout the practice.
- Rasmus Asplund and Lawrence Pilut remain a pair of guys I think find themselves in Buffalo sooner rather than later. Given Botterill’s past — a mid-season call up scenario seems likely, if not sooner. They’re noticeably more-pro ready than other players in the way they shield the puck, the power on their shots, among other things.
- 2017 4th rounder Jacob Bryson is a guy to keep an eye on in the future. He has two impressive collegiate seasons behind him and will see a big role as a junior after already being Providence’s best defenseman as a sophomore. He’s a slick skater with a great first pass and flies under the radar without a ton of flash.
MVP of Day 2 – Victor Olofsson
In a practice environment that didn’t allow for a ton of separation amongst participants when watching, Olofsson still found a way to clearly separate himself from the pack today. It seemed to be the general consensus on social media from those at camp as well that Olofsson was far and away the most impressive. He was a must-watch player all day as they ran through different drills showcasing the shot that has started to gain a reputation around town. Everyone is starting to take notice of Olofsson’s shot and can concur with an earlier statement from Rasmus Dahlin that it’s “the best shot he’s ever seen.” Every time Olofsson would peel around a cone the entire building was anxious for him to finally miss a shot, but he would continuously pick a corner until finally catching some bad luck with a post or a shot just wide. Olofsson showed great speed and stick handling throughout the day on top of his disgusting release.
3 Twitter Questions
It’s clear he needs to work on his puck handling before he can take the next step to pro hockey. He doesn’t have the greatest set of hands — something expected for a big guy — but I could see him getting into some trouble against a fast forecheck at the NHL level with his puck handling at the current level that it is. He showed solid skating ability with his huge stride allowing him to move well for his size along with a heavy shot that he went bar-down with a couple times back-to-back. It’s hard to criticize someone who plays the steady style that Samuelsson brings in a skill setting like development camp, but those are just some things that stood out.
Don’t think he cracks the lineup out of camp. Definitely one of the better forwards in group one the past two days though. He has good speed down the wing and can finish well from in-close. A year or so in Rochester will be good for him.
Both have been extremely impressive. We knew he was a good skater but it’s been the difference that has clearly separated him from the other defensemen in group two. Guys like Will Borgen and Brandon Hickey are good skaters, but not on the same level as Pilut. His shot has been something that’s caught me by surprise. I’d say its the best out of all the defensemen at camp besides Ivan Chukarov, who has a cannon. I think if he played in the NHL on day one of the season he’d be perfectly fine, but he’ll likely take Brendan Guhle’s role from last year and play big minutes for 3/4 of the season in Rochester with a shot at the Sabres later in the year.
Thanks again for reading and following along. Make sure to check back the next two days of camp. Follow below for more.