The Buffalo Sabres will head west to Michigan Sept. 5-9 looking to defend their title at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. The official roster will be announced Tuesday via Twitter at 5:00 p.m., but below is a look at who the Sabres could tab for action at the popular event.
As has been the case in previous years, the squad will likely be comprised of CHL and AHL hopefuls, including a maximum of four players with at least one year of pro experience, while the possibility exists that a few free agent invites could fill out the roster. If the "veteran" rules remains in tact, the Sabres will obviously have some tough decisions to make.
Players competing in the NCAA ranks will not participate as NHL training camps take place during fall semester (and also due to the fact that college players would have to pay their own way in order to preserve their collegiate eligibility).
Here is the best guess:
Dan Catenacci - Mikhail Grigorenko* - Joel Armia
Logan Nelson - Zemgus Girgensons* - Colin Jacobs
Eric Locke - Justin Kea - Justin Bailey
Kevin Sundher* - Tim Schaller - Nick Baptiste
Nikita Zadorov - Rasmus Ristolainen
Jerome Gauthier-Leduc* - Brady Austin
plus free agent invites
free agent invite or Nathan Lieuwen*
*denotes player with one year of North American pro experience.
Three other players on entry-level deals -- Johan Larsson, Chad Ruhwedel, and Mark Pysyk -- are also candidates to participate.
It is expected that contract decisions on two players - Logan Nelson (Victoria/WHL) and Eric Locke (Saginaw/OHL) - could be made ending their performances at the tournament. If signed, one or both could be dispatched for AHL duty in Rochester as opposed to spending another season on the buses in junior.
It's only pre-season but Nick Baptiste could be a little tired by the time the tournament rolls around. The speedy forward will return from Omsk, Russia Sept. 1 following the Sudbury Wolves' defense of the World Junior Club Championship.
The Sabres will play in the Lindsay Division with Carolina, Columbus and New York Rangers. The Howe Division will be made up of Dallas, Minnesota,
St. Louis, and host Detroit.
The game schedule is below.
Thursday, September 5
3:30 pm New York vs. Carolina (David’s)
4:00 pm Buffalo vs. Columbus (West Rink)
7:00 pm St. Louis vs. Dallas (David’s)
7:30 pm Detroit vs. Minnesota (West Rink)
Friday, September 6
3:30 pm Columbus vs. Carolina (David’s)
4:00 pm Buffalo vs. New York (West Rink)
7:00 pm St. Louis vs. Minnesota (David’s)
7:30 pm Dallas vs. Detroit (West Rink)
Saturday, September 7
No games scheduled
Sunday, September 8
3:00 pm Minnesota vs. Dallas (David’s)
3:30 pm Carolina vs. Buffalo (West Rink)
6:30 pm Columbus vs. New York (David’s)
7:00 pm Detroit vs. St. Louis (West Rink)
Monday, September 9
3:30 pm 7th place - 4th Howe vs. 4th Lindsay (David’s)
4:00 pm 5th place - 3rd Howe vs. 3rd Lindsay (West Rink)
7:00 pm 3rd place - 2nd Howe vs. 2nd Lindsay (David’s)
7:30 pm Championship - 1st Howe vs. 1st Lindsay (West Rink)