Jimmy Vesey Watch

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Rasmus Ristolainen has been a strong pick for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – To thrive in the modern NHL, teams must build through the draft. It’s that simple. The days of loading up with veteran players through free agency or trades are long gone. The league belongs to the 20-somethings now, and if teams draft poorly, they’re doomed.

How good are the Sabres at drafting? Judge for yourself below. Since drafts usually don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at their selections from 2008-13. Eighteen of Buffalo’s 47 …

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Justin Bailey was a 2013 second-round pick. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have sent 10 players to the Rochester Americans, including Williamsville native Justin Bailey, a wing prospect beginning his first professional season.

The Sabres also sent forwards Nick Baptiste, William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Jerry D’Amigo, Jean Dupuy Justin Kea, Jack Nevins and Phil Varone and goalie Andrey Makarov to the AHL club. D’Amigo and Varone must clear waivers.

In addition, the Sabres released forward Matt Garbowsky and defenseman Matt Prapavessis from their tryouts.

The Sabres have 38 players – 20 …

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Cal O'Reilly had never played with his brother, Ryan. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

TORONTO – Growing up about 140 miles away in Goderich, Ont., Buffalo Sabres center Cal O’Reilly witnessed some epic meltdowns when he beat his younger brother, Ryan, in hockey games.

“When he would lose, he would start throwing stuff – sticks and anything he could get his hands on,” Cal O’Reilly said Friday prior to the Sabres’ 6-4 preseason win against the Maple Leafs, the brothers’ first appearance together as teammates at any level of hockey.

Cal eventually wised up.

“If he lost, …

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Dan Catenacci grew up outside Toronto. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Instead of being in Canada’s largest city for an NHL exhibition game tonight, Buffalo Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle figured he’d likely be playing his first junior game this season about 3,000 kilometers away – hey, check the dateline – in Saskatchewan for the Prince Albert Raiders.

But the defenseman, the 51st pick in June, will play his third straight preseason game tonight against the Maple Leafs inside the Air Canada Centre.

“Good luck to the Raiders,” said Guhle, the only …

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Patrick Kaleta has some enemies around the league. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Dan Bylsma’s memories of winger Patrick Kaleta pestering his old Pittsburgh Penguins teams are too fresh. To the Sabres coach, the veteran agitator is still the enemy. Having him on his side is going to take some getting used to.

“I have a hard time not wanting to kill him,” Bylsma joked this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center. “But I’ve told him that. I let him know I’m trying to like you, I’m trying to put it behind …

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Jack Eichel will play his first game in a Sabres uniform tonight. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sometimes, Josh Chapman said, he can’t help himself. When one of the Sabres’ talented youngsters like Jack Eichel or Sam Reinhart is on the ice, it’s only natural to watch them for a moment.

“You get caught staring sometimes, for sure,” Chapman said Friday after rookie camp opened. “(Eichel’s) a really flashy, skilled player. Same with Reinhart and a bunch of other guys. They’re fun to watch. But you don’t want to watch them if you’re playing against them.”

Luckily, …

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Josh Chapman laid out a big hit and fought Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The nifty winning goal in today’s three-on-three development camp tournament wasn’t scored by Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart or one of the Sabres’ other high-end forward prospects.

Try 6-foot-3, 210-pound Josh Chapman, an undrafted defenseman the Sabres invited.

“Someone asked him how many goals he scored this year,” said winger Evan Rodrigues, Chapman’s teammate in the eight-team tournament. “He said none.”

That’s right, Chapman scored zero goals in 44 games last season with the Sarnia Sting and two in his 164-game Ontario …

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Jack Eichel was held scoreless Friday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The 17,115 Sabres fans who chose a hockey scrimmage – or, more appropriately, an opportunity to watch center Jack Eichel – over spending a beautiful Friday night in July outdoors probably don’t regret their decision.

For $10, they watched their newest star up close, saw center Sam Reinhart score twice and were treated to a five-on-five development camp exhibition with some unusual intensity.

“That was probably one of the most fun games of hockey I think I’ve ever played in …

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Anthony Florentino loves to hit. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Anthony Florentino can relax a bit this week. The defenseman only has to defend slick center Jack Eichel during development camp drills and possibly a scrimmage.

Last season, the youngsters went head-to-head three times, including the national championship game, when Florentino’s Providence College Friars stunned Eichel’s Boston University Terriers 4-3 on April 11.

At times, Eichel, the second overall pick last month, gave Florentino fits.

“Defending him, he’s definitely the hardest player I’ve played against in my life,” Florentino …

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