Prospect Camp: Day 4

Day 4 of Prospect Camp was the first day of the scrimmages between the prospects and it didn’t disappoint. Here’s how things were organized for today.

Team Blue:




Team White:


Brennan-M. Mackenzie
D. Mackenzie-Pysyk


White ended up with a decided 5-2 victory, probably due to the fact that they’re much deeper at forward than Blue was. Hopefully, they tweak things a bit for tomorrow so it’s a bit more competitive. I didn’t catch who scored Blue’s 2nd goal because it happen as the buzzer sounded to end the game, but your other goalscorers are as follows:

White- Foligno, Brennan, Beyers, Navin, Sundher

Blue- Ennis, ?

It should be noted that Schiestel, Cattenacci, Jacobs, Liuewen, and Sutch did not play today. Hopefully, they’ll be in tomorrow. I’m especially intrigued to see the former two in a game situation. Onto some player breakdowns for team Blue. This will be a little more in-depth than my previous articles because it is definitely easier to assess players in game-situations than in drills.

Tyler Ennis– Even though he scored, Ennis was far more interested in being a distributor today than a shooter which had mixed results. All in all, he was easily the best player on the ice, setting up his unit with a lots of offensive zone time with ease.

Luke Adam– I thought Adam had a solid day at center. He was great in periods 1 & 2 and tapered off a bit in period 3, but he was still good. He played well in both ends of the ice and his line was putting on a clinic on how to cycle the puck. I could definitely see him pushing for a roster spot, provided that the Sabres don’t bring in another top-9 center during the rest of the off-season.

Zack Kassian– Effort-level was hit or miss for Kassian, but his talents were on display. He did a great job keeping possession of the puck along the boards and made a great pass to Ennis for Blue’s first goal. As a fan, you can’t help but salivate at his potential, but I think he’s still going to need some seasoning  in Rochester.

Corey Tropp– Unlike during the drills, I didn’t really notice Tropp other than when he missed on a penalty shot attempt. Pretty disappointing

Steve Shipley– He definitely has some good hands and showed some flashes of offensive vision on the ice, but overall, he wasn’t very effective.

Cedrick Henley– Other than making some a couple of nice plays in the defensive zone, Henley was pretty ineffective and didn’t stick out as good in any particular way.

John McCarron– Had some nice effort early on to go along with a nice hit, but not much else of note, good or bad the rest of the way.

Christian Isackson– He actually played center today and didn’t look half-bad doing it. Isackson was strong on the puck and setup some nice chances for himself and his teammates. Very intrigued to see how he progresses next year.

Alex Biega– He had a couple of turnovers, but the small amount of negatives were easily outweighed by the positives. Biega was always in great position in his own end and was wheelin’ and dealin’ offensively. Easily the best defenseman on his team and probably the second-best defenseman today overall. He roofed a laser into the top-corner of the net, gloveside during the shootout after the game too.

Nick Crawford– Didn’t generate much offense from the blueline, but his mobility was good and he was solid in his own end. Crawford had a nice take-down of Sundher as the latter was driving towards the net during the scrimmage.

Brayden McNabb– The physical-aspect of McNabb’s game was there. He was regularly rubbing guys out on the boards. Can’t say that I was thrilled with the rest of his game today though. He looked slow and made some pretty bad reads on some pinches and some plays in his own end. Hopefully, he can remedy that tomorrow.

Jerome Gauthier-Leduc– The offensive-minded defenseman was generating good rushes with his legs and wasn’t a liability in his end. Hoping to see him snag some points tomorrow with that cannon shot that wasn’t unleashed today.

Nick Bailen- He played like a poor-man’s version of Biega. Both players liked to do a lot of the same things, but Biega was more effective at it. Definitely a solid day for the camp invitee.

Mark Adams- Definitely the weakest defenseman on the team. Adams does have solid mobility, but his decision-making was very poor. Plenty of turnovers for him today.

Nick Eno-  Eno was very good in-goal and made a TREMENDOUS glove save. I hope has video on hit because it was phenomenal and it got a very loud applause from the crowd. I don’t think it would’ve counted even if it had gone in, but still, wow.

Michael Houser- Not much to tell. Houser was just flat-out mediocre in-goal.

As for team White:

Marcus Foligno– Can’t say that I was all that impressed with Foligno in the first period, but he really picked it up for the rest of the game. When he was at his best today, Foligno was playing a straight-forward game using his newly inquired increase in speed and his size to contribute in both ends of the ice. He also managed to pot a goal in the scrimmage and the shootout.

Kevin Sundher– Sundher’s prowess in the drills translated over pretty well to the scrimmage today. His speed and relentless pursuit of the puck created a lot offense for his team. Sundher was also willing to muck it up out there, playing the body and going into the crease-area to get a goal. Definitely a guy to keep an eye on.

Jonathan Parker- Stick-handling and passing was a plus for Parker today. Overall, the guy has some nice hands and was a solid contributor to his line.

Riley Boychuk- His foot-speed needs some work, but his speed wasn’t bad. Boychuk threw some nice hits and wasn’t a liability in his own end. I’d like to see a little more offensive-jam from him tomorrow.

Shawn Szydlowski- I didn’t really notice him that much outside a flash of good stick-handling here and there. Wasn’t bad, but he didn’t really stick out as good either.

Jacob Lagace- His skating was very good, as well as his passing. Lagace was creating offensive opportunities on a regular basis while he was out there, which is a marked improvement over his performance in the scrimmage last year. I’m hoping to see a repeat performance tomorrow.

Phil VaroneThe puck seemed like it was on his stick a lot. Good hands, effort, and creativity from the invite. His line was pretty effective offensively.

Steven Beyers- I felt like I was watching Tyler Ennis’s lesser-talented brother out there. Beyers has some great speed and played with a lot of moxy and was in on plenty offensive chances, most notably, the slap-shot from the top of the circle that led to a fat rebound that Navin tapped in for the easy goal.

Brad Navin- For someone who’s previous high-water mark in competition was high-school hockey, Navin didn’t look out-of-place. He had a good nose for the net and played a defensively-responsible game. He definitely needs to get faster, but he’s got plenty of time to work on that. This 7th round pick of the 2011 NHL Draft just may be a regular contributor to the Sabres down the road.

Geordie Wudrick- Pretty underwhelming. Wudrick had a really hard time keeping up with things out on the ice. Not a good outing for him.

Matt Zarbo- The Grand Island native showed some quickness and a quality effort, but he didn’t have much to show for it.

TJ Brennan- I thought Brennan was the best defenseman on the ice today. His first passes out of the zone were great, his skating  and hands were sharp, and his coverage in his own zone was very good. My favorite part of his game today was when he noticed that team Blue was making a change and fired a quick pass up to Beyers who then ripped the shot that led to the Navin goal.

Matt MacKenzie- Unspectaculary solid outing for MacKenzie. Didn’t stick out all, which means that he was playing solid defensive game and sometimes, that’s all you need to do when you’ve got guys like Brennan and Pysyk who can take care of the heavy-lifting  on defense.

Drew MacKenzie- See Matt MacKenzie. Played a very similar game today.

Alex Lepkowski- The big, West Seneca defenseman has been fun to watch. He makes good, quick decisions with the puck, plays a physical game, and has some decent speed for someone who’s that big. Lepkowski also displayed a flash of play-making ability by springing one of his teammates for a good chance right at the blueline. Looking forward to seeing how he does in junior this year.

Mark Pysyk- I though Pysyk played just as well defensively as Brennan and Biega, but the offensive game wasn’t as good as those two today. Obviously nothing to be ashamed about. Pysyk was making smart decisions with the puck all game and making plays with his stick and his legs. We could have an interesting battle between Pysyk and Biega in camp depending how things shake out in the off-season.

Corey Fienhage- He got pinned in his own end by Ennis’s line a few times, but other than that, he played a safe, physical game on defense, which is always appreciated. Might just be me, but he always looks like he’s ready to snap on the ice.

Connor Knapp- Knapp didn’t have too much to do, but he made all the stops that he needed stop. Good showing in goal.

John Cullen- A little less impressive than Knapp, but when your tandem only gives up two goals, you’re probably having a successful game.


Best Blue Forward- Ennis, HM: Adam

Best Blue Defenseman- Biega, HM: Crawford

Best White Forward- Sundher, HM: Foligno

Best White Defenseman- Brennan, HM: Pysyk

Best Forward- Ennis

Best Defenseman- Brennan


Well that does it for the Day 4 post. Look for my new post on the last day of Prospect Camp tomorrow.

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