Development camp time

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Development Camp

Jack Eichel drew fans to development camp Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – At around 1:10 p.m. on Monday, most of the 1,000 or so Sabres fans on hand to watch development camp had their eyes focused on the tunnel next to the visiting bench waiting for a glimpse of Jack Eichel.

When the slick center finally touched the First Niagara Center ice for the first time in Sabres gear, the crowd cheered Buffalo’s newest phenom. Cameras snapped photos. Memories were made.

“It was pretty cool,” Eichel said following the first session of …

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Dan Lambert coached the Kelowna Rockets last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – When development camp began Monday, there was an unfamiliar face on the ice putting the Sabres prospects through drills inside the First Niagara Center.

Who was it?

During the first session, the Sabres officially announced Dan Lambert’s hire as the third assistant on coach Dan Bylsma’s staff.

The 45-year-old Lambert coached the Kelowna Rockets last year, leading the junior club to a Western Hockey League championship and a Memorial Cup appearance in his first season following five years as an assistant.

Lambert, …

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Jack Eichel skates this afternoon. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – At around 1:10 p.m., most of the 1,000 or so Sabres fans inside the First Niagara Center had their eyes focused on the tunnel next to the visiting bench waiting for a glimpse of slick center Jack Eichel at development camp.

When Eichel touched the ice for the first time in Sabres gear, the crowd cheered Buffalo’s newest phenom as cameras went off.

“It was pretty cool,” Eichel said following the first session of camp. “It was definitely kind of …

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Jack Eichel will be the talk of development camp. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The thousands of Sabres fans who visit the First Niagara Center this week to watch the team’s prospects should leave with at least one special, indelible memory. For the first time up close on home ice, they’ll get to see slick center Jack Eichel.

Sure, it’s only a summer development camp. But watching Eichel in Sabres gear just two weeks after he was drafted second overall will likely never be forgotten.

Of course, Eichel will be the focus and talk …

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Ryan O'Reilly was acquired a week ago. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – That didn’t take long. A week after the Sabres acquired Ryan O’Reilly in a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Avalanche, they locked up their new No. 1 center today with a max deal, a whopping seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension.

That’s an average annual value of $7.5 million.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who tweeted the contract’s value, O’Reilly’s salary will be $1 million per season. The rest will be paid via a yearly signing bonus: $10 million, $8 million, …

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The Sabres will draft Jack Eichel next week. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The first glimpse of Jack Eichel on the First Niagara Center ice with the Sabres should come July 6-12, when the team hosts its annual development camp.

The year’s session, which the team announced today, will undoubtedly have extra buzz since Eichel, the Boston University center the Sabres will draft second overall next week, will likely participate.

On-ice sessions during the week will be open to the public. An intra-squad “Blue and Gold Scrimmage” will be held July 10 at …

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J.T. Compher has played one college season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Early during Sabres development camp, J.T. Compher, proud University of Michigan student-athlete, noticed Hudson Fasching, his roommate from the University of Minnesota, brought a Big Ten shirt.

“I threw it on the ground,” a smiling Compher said. “I didn’t want to see that out of his suitcase again.”

Their rivalry started last season, when Compher’s Wolverines lost three of their four conference meetings to Fasching’s Golden Gophers, who captured the first-ever Big Ten hockey title.

Before that, the friends played together …

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Linus Ullmark will play one more season in his native Sweden. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – It was a low-risk move. In 2012, the Sabres wanted to find a late-round steal in net. The team’s new European scouts scoured Finland and Sweden, two countries known for producing hidden goaltending gems.

Eventually, the Sabres drafted Linus Ullmark, a little-known Swede, in the sixth round, 163rd overall.

Barely two years later, Ullmark has developed into a legitimate NHL prospect. The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in the Swedish Hockey League last year, compiling a gaudy .931 save percentage …

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Linus Ullmark grew up playing Nintendo. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Despite being born in 1993, Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark grew up playing Nintendo and Super Nintendo, classic video game consoles from an earlier generation.

“I’ve been playing that kind of stuff for a way, way long time, since I was like 5,” Ullmark said last week following a development camp session inside the First Niagara Center.

Ullmark likes the “Super Mario Bros.” games so much he asked his mask designer, David Gunnarsson, to paint characters from the game – …

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Sean Malone (gold) has played well since the Sabres drafted him. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As a sixth-round pick, center Sean Malone faces some long odds to crack the NHL someday. But the West Seneca native has been developing rapidly since the Sabres selected him 159th overall in 2013.

The 19-year-old earned Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year honors last season. He’ll be participating in Team USA’s world junior camp next month in Lake Placid.

In the Dan Hickling photo above, Malone nearly scores on goalie Nathan Lieuwen in close during Friday’s three-on-three development camp …

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