By: Ryan J. Harr
Prior to the 2016-17 season, the Rochester Americans defensemen Erik Burgdoerfer signed a one-year, two-way NHL contract as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Sabres on July 21, 2016.
During the 2015-16 slate, the 28-year-old played his first full season in the American Hockey League with the Hershey Bears. The East Setauket native appeared in a career-high 74 games with the Bears recording 20 points (6+14).
Before last season, the 6-foot-2 210 pound blueliner spent parts of the past five seasons in the ECHL with the Bakersfield Condors. The seven-year pro played in 272 career games and compiled 75 points (22+53) over that span.
This season, he has appeared in 33 games with the Amerks collecting 10 assists in the process. In addition, he earned his first career recall as he played in a pair of Sabres contests, averaging 11 minutes of ice time.
Last season you set career highs in goals, assists and points was that a case of finding your game in the AHL?
I think it was a combination of being on a good team (played for the Hershey Bears) and additionally I was seeing some increased opportunities that I had not had in my previous seasons.
Made the Calder Cup Finals with the Bears, what was that experience like?
We had a great group of guys in Hershey and it was a testament on how well we played over the season and were able to make a deep run into the post-season but unfortunately came up a little short. It was something I will not forget.
Playing in the post-season in the last three seasons, what is the biggest thing you have learned over the time span?
I learned just what it takes to get to playoffs. The season is a long grind but once the playoffs start I learned exactly what and how I needed to step my game up. It is definitely an exciting time to play the game in the post-season.
First career NHL recall and debut earlier this month, what was that experience like?
It was and still is something I have been working towards for a longtime. The days in the NHL are something I will never forget but after getting a taste it only helps motivates me more to get back up there.
Over the course of this season and during times over the past several seasons you have been an alternate captain, what do you think you bring to the team as terms as veteran leadership?
I am one of the older guys because we have a younger team but I try every day to show how to be a professional both on and off the ice. I try to show them what it takes to stay and make in the AHL by various of ways including the way to prepare and the way to compete day in and day out.
Why do you wear the number 2?
The last few seasons I wore number 32 in Hershey as it was a number given to me but for most of my career I have worn the number two. While I have worn two, I actually am not a huge number guy it does not really matter to me what number I have.
What are you favorite things do when not playing?
I like to watch movies or watch tv and of course other sports including football or lacrosse. My all-time favorite movie is Fury while my favorite tv show is Peaky Blinders.