News | 7/18/2014 2:45:57 PM | Rob Crean

The final day of Sabres Development Camp featured a new closing event: a highly competitive 3-on-3 tournament for the 39 prospects who attended this week’s camp.



While past Development Camps have concluded with an intra-squad scrimmage, this year the scrimmage took place early in the week so more emphasis could be placed on the 3-on-3 “battle.”

“We set it up to be a type of a battle camp. Effort and work ethic will be rewarded and will be noticed, and I think we got that,” said Sabres General Manager Tim Murray. “To me the 3-on-3 is more important than the scrimmage anyways, so I thought there were some very good performances.”

The prospects were divided into seven teams and went through a round-robin format before entering a playoff. The final game featured Team Gray (Mikhail Grigorenko, Justin Kea, Drake Caggiula, Liam Pecararo and Mark Pysyk) versus Team Gold (Sean Malone, Hudson Fasching, Colin Jacobs, Brandon Prophet and Nikita Zadorov), with Team Gray emerging with a 2-1 victory on goals by Development Camp veterans Grigorenko and Pysyk.

“It’s a battle, everything’s a battle,” Murray said of the tournament. “The guys that don’t battle are on the periphery and they don’t have a big impact. It’s a lot harder type of game than it is end-to-end. You put guys in situations that probably isn’t their best situation and see how they react.”

While the forwards and defensemen battled it out, the goaltenders had a chance to shine as well. At the end, it was Nathan Lieuwen, last season’s Amerks Rookie of the Year who also saw his first NHL action late in the year, between the pipes during the final game. Throughout camp, Murray liked what he saw from the crop of young netminders.

“I certainly like their size, the tools that they have,” Murray said. “They each made, in their own way, a couple big saves during the camp. We saw Lieuwen and Ullmark the final two goalies today, as they should be. They are further along in their development.  I like big, athletic goalies, and we have the makings of one or two who could at least back-up and maybe start in this league.”

Over the course of the week-long prospects camp that included practice sessions, the 3-on-3 tournament and Tuesday night’s scrimmage, nearly 15,000 fans made their way to First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo to get a glimpse of the future of the Sabres.  

"Since we moved Development Camp to the First Niagara Center three years ago, it has quickly become a signature off-season event for our fans," said Sabres and Amerks president Ted Black. "There is so much interest and excitement surrounding the Sabres prospects right now, especially with our present and future high draft picks and the moves that Tim [Murray] has made over the last five months.

“As an organization, we’ve really tried to ramp up our efforts with Development Camp over the past few seasons. It’s a chance for us to meet the ever-growing interest that our fans have in our prospects and provide some hockey entertainment during the summer months. It’s also a great chance for us to showcase Buffalo and this hockey-crazed area to these young players, many of whom are experiencing the city for the first time.”

With camp over, most of the players will head their separate ways until training camp opens up in September and the battle for roster spots begins in earnest. The hope is that many of these players will be teammates down the road, and this camp will have served as the foundation for those relationships.

“This is the start of team-building,” Murray said. “These guys will be together at certain points of the year and then some of them will play together and I think it’s the start of team-building, it’s the start of some of them knowing that they’ll be going forward with each other and creating relationships.”

Below is how the teams were divided up for Friday’s 3-on-3 Tournament:

TEAM GRAY (Champions)
25 Mikhail Grigorenko
32 Justin Kea
22 Drake Caggiula
41 Liam Pecararo
3 Mark Pysyk

TEAM GOLD (Runners-Up)
38 Sean Malone
24 Hudson Fasching
37 Colin Jacobs
6 Brandon Prophet
61 Nikita Zadorov

20 Nicholas Baptiste
17 J.T. Compher
21 Jonathon Martin
12 Patrick Russell
34 Jerome Gauthier-Leduc

45 Eric Cornel
65 Jordan Samuels-Thomas
27 Tim Schaller
44 Victor Olofsson
55 Rasmus Ristolainen

23 Sam Reinhart
15 Justin Bailey
47 Daniel Catenacci
52 Brady Austin
5 Andrew Prochno

28 Zemgus Girgensons
10 William Carrier
46 Maxwell Willman
4 Anthony Florentino
72 Brycen Martin

33 Joel Armia
78 Brendan Lemieux
13 Kevin Sundher
29 Jake McCabe

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 October 10, 2015 - 07:35 PM 1 2 3F
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 Rochester Americans 0 2 02