Healthy Shipley stoked for camp

Good news on the Sabres prospects injury front. After what was feared to be a fractured pinkie turned out to be just a bruise, Owen Sound center Steven Shipley is heading to Buffalo ready to show the Sabres that their choice in fourth rounders was a wise one.

Shipley leaves today for Buffalo's rookie camp. He almost missed out on the opportunity after bruising a finger in a training camp fight.

"I sat out the weekend mostly for precautionary reasons to make sure I didn't break it or fracture it," said the 18-year-old Ilderton native.

This is a relief. Even if you're among the first group to exit, the fast pace of NHL training camp usually translates to an added "jump" and immediate traction upon return to junior.

With the injury concern behind him, Shipley skates into the year with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. The 6'3, 212-pound pivot was ranked 43rd on Central Scouting's list of North Americans last April, a spot usually resulting in a late-2nd/early-3rd round selection, but instead lasted all the way to pick #98 on draft day. Already solid on his skates, turning that perceived snub into an upped competitive ante should help Shipley drive results early and prove scouts wrong in the long run.

"He's got to go out with assertiveness and a solid work ethic. He's got to use that six-foot- two strength and stride that he has in a more aggressive manner to create opportunities for himself."

A healthy Joey Hishon (COL) may impede Shipley's ability to anchor the Attack's top line, but he'll have plenty of opportunities to improve on last season's 62-point total. He expects growth in his game and the Sabres certainly do as well, making SabresProspects comfortable setting 80 points as a fair bench mark for the coming year in Owen Sound. For now though, we're happy that he's able to participate in camp.
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