Photo courtesy of @buffalosabres

The Sabres crown a champion as Development Camp ends

Housley enjoyed getting to know the future

Paul Hamilton
July 11, 2017 - 3:15 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres had an entertaining 3-on-3 tournament to close out Development Camp. The HarborCenter was filled up to see Team White go undefeated in five games and win the tournament.

Team White consisted of Casey Mittelstadt, Brycen Martin, Jake McGrath, Rasmus Asplund, Eric Cornel, Hudson Fasching, Brett Murray and Erik Autio.

In their first game, White beat the Blue 2-1 in a shootout. Autio, who is a Penn State senior scored with Asplund getting the shootout goal.

Next was a 1-0 victory over Gray with Asplund scoring a split second before the final buzzer when he beat Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen who sprinted out of his crease trying to get to a loose puck. McGrath, who was another invitee from the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL got the shutout.

McGrath pitched another shutout to finish the round-robin with a 3-0 victory over Gold. Autio, Mittelstadt and Asplund scored the goals.

White won its semi-final game over Blue 2-0 giving McGrath his third straight shutout. Cornel and Autio scored giving the defenseman three goals on the tournament.

White won the final game 3-1 behind Mittelstadt's two goals. Hudson Fasching got the other.

McGrath only gave up two goals in the five games while Autio, Mittelstadt and Asplund scored eight of the White's 10 goals.

Despite Gray going 2-3-0, I thought Will Borgen was one of the best players in the tournament. He was strong defensively and even got in the rush when he could.

Mittelstadt showed all sorts of skill and scored a beauty when he sped in a picked the high corner.

Justin Bailey hit three posts, but he was held off the scoreboard as was Nick Baptiste.

This was the first exposure Phil Housley has had to his young players and he wanted no part of talking about individual players. He said nobody stuck out, “Not really, just trying to see the characteristics and get to know everybody. I haven't really seen a lot of these players and certainly there's players that were talked about in the media, but just trying to get everybody and see what they can do on the ice, so it's not so much an evaluation, it's just getting to know the players.”

“I thought it was great, just trying to get to know the kids, all the different personalities. I thought the development group did a great job of mixing it up and keeping it fresh, even the things off ice. It's all about them learning how to become a pro.”

Housley said there were many off-ice activities including teaching players nutrition and how to cook. Mittelstadt said it was fun, “I'm not the best cook, but it was still fun to get in there with the guys and just do something else besides hockey and have some fun that way.”

Asplund spoke about all the good young talent that he sees around him in Mittelstadt, Brendan Guhle, Borgen, Alex Nylander, Baptiste, Bailey and Cliff Pu. He is excited for the future, “Yes, for sure. There are a couple of good players and we need to work really hard to get on the final roster whether its this year or next year or in four years and I'm pretty pumped about the young guys that are here.”

Of course he's talking about the young players that were in camp. That doesn't include Jack Eichel, Rasmus Ristolainen, Sam Reinhart or Jake McCabe.

Well folks, that's going to do it for me. I'll join Howard and Jeremy in the morning and then I'll be with The Instigators. After that, my off-season begins. Brayton Wilson will have any Sabres news as I get my vacation time. It's been great and I love being able to watch hockey and bring it back to you.

Talk to you all after my summer break!

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