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Archive:
Rochester Americans

Maxwell Willman played high school hockey in Cape Cod. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Before development camp started this week, Chadd Cassidy knew nothing about Maxwell Willman. Heck, very few had heard of the winger until the Sabres drafted him 121st overall last month.

Willman mostly went unnoticed playing at Barnstable High School in Hyannis, Mass., a popular tourist town in Cape Cod. He nearly left the game to attend Quinnipiac University as a regular student. But Willman transformed himself into a prospect last year playing at Williston Northampton, a prep school in …

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Rasmus Ristolainen (right) battles Brean Lemieux during Tuesday's scrimmage. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – While other Sabres prospects have packed on weight this summer, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has “lost a couple pounds.”

“Fat, not any muscles,” the 19-year-old Finn said following Tuesday’s development camp scrimmage inside the First Niagara Center.

The 6-foot-4, 207-pound Ristolainen showcased some muscle early in the contest, hitting top prospect Sam Reinhart.

“I don’t watch who I’m hitting,” Ristolainen said. “If I get a chance, I hit. That’s all.”

Later on, Ristolainen and agitating winger Brendan Lemieux jawed at the end of …

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Justin Kea and Anthony Florentino fight Tuesday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Early in Tuesday’s Blue-White Sabres scrimmage, defenseman Anthony Florentino, who has a penchant for hitting, leveled forward Justin Kea inside the First Niagara Center.

In the second period, the prospects fought.

“Everybody’s got their niche in the game,” Rochester coach Chadd Cassidy, who’s running the camp, said about the fight. “They got to find a way to kind of get noticed. I think if there’s one thing we’ve preached to the guys, it’s play your game and play it like …

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Chad Ruhwedel has played 28 NHL games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a two-year contract, leaving center Tyler Ennis as the club’s lone notable restricted free agent.

Ruhwedel, who must clear waivers and will likely stick with the Sabres, had one assist in 21 NHL games last season. The 24-year-old four goals and 28 points in 47 games with Rochester.

The San Diego native has played 28 NHL contests. The Sabres signed him as a free agent after three NCAA seasons at the University …

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Mikhail Grigorenko keeps the puck away from Jake McCabe during Tuesday's scrimmage. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The comments are significant, Mikhail Grigorenko’s most telling since joining the Sabres months after they selected him 12th overall in 2012.

In a hallway outside the First Niagara Center dressing room hours before a development camp scrimmage Tuesday, the 20-year-old Russian spoke candidly about his short career, blaming himself for his NHL struggles.

“From past experiences, I kind of realized it was probably no one’s fault but mine I didn’t stay in the NHL,” Grigorenko said. “I want to play …

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Jordan Samuels-Thomas was drafted by Atlanta. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – As a seventh-round pick, Jordan Samuels-Thomas faced some long odds to earn an NHL contract. But the 6-foot-4, 220-pound winger possesses size, a precious commodity in today’s game.

The Sabres have made it no secret they covet “heavy,” hard-to-play-against talent for their rebuild. So they shipped a 2015 seventh-rounder to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday for Samuels-Thomas’ rights.

They signed the Connecticut native to a one-year, two-way contract Saturday.

“I was excited about a new opportunity with an organization that’s really …

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Zemgus Girgensons spent all last season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Some experts are already predicting the Sabres, a team three months removed from the worst NHL season in recent memory, will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in a few years.

Why? Their prospect pool might be the deepest in hockey.

Seven first-round picks are participating in the team’s development camp this week. Seven of the 41 prospects played in the NHL last season, including center Zemgus Girgensons, who spent the entire campaign with the Sabres.

Fans can get their first glimpses …

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Jordan Samuels-Thomas played four NCAA seasons. ©2014, Quinnipiac Athletics
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have signed winger Jordan Samuels-Thomas to a one-year, entry-level contract, the team announced today.

They sent a 2015 seventh-round pick to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday for the 24-year-old’s rights.

Samuels-Thomas, the 203rd overall pick by the Winnipeg franchise in 2009, compiled 50 goals, 104 points and 162 penalty minutes in 138 NCAA games over four seasons with Quinnipiac University and Bowling Green State University. He played two seasons with each school.

He could be ticketed for AHL Rochester …

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Jordan Samuels-Thomas had 50 goals in his NCAA career. ©2014, Quinnipiac Athletics
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, new Sabres prospect Jordan Samuels-Thomas possesses a chiseled body ready for the pro game.

“He’s a man,” Rand Pecknold, Samuels’ coach at Quinnipiac University, said by phone this morning. “He’s as good of an athlete and (in) as good a physical shape as anyone in Buffalo’s organization. He’s phenomenal.”

That imposing frame will help the 24-year-old winger, who compiled 50 goals and 104 points over four NCAA seasons, at the next level.

“He’s got high-end potential,” …

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Sabres general manager Tim Murray made a minor trade tonight. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have acquired winger Jordan Samuels-Thomas from the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional seven-round draft pick in 2015, the club announced tonight.

Samuels-Thomas, the 203rd overall pick by the Winnipeg franchise in 2009, compiled 50 goals, 104 points and 162 penalty minutes in 138 NCAA games over four seasons with Quinnipiac University and Bowling Green State University. He played two seasons with each school.

The 24-year-old, a native of West Hartford, Conn., is 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds. He could …

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