Some firsts for the upcoming season

A look at some "firsts" for the upcoming season...

Right-handed defenseman Casey Fitzgerald, chosen in the third round this past June, joins fellow sophomore Christopher Brown to become to the first pair of Sabres prospects to play together at Boston College since 2005 draftmates Nathan Gerbe and Andrew Orpik were in Chestnut Hill together in 2007-08. Fitzgerald is the first full-time Eagles rearguard to be selected by the Sabres since John Adams (2002).

Vasily Glotov will be the first Sabres prospect to play in Cape Breton since Luke Adam, Maxime Legault and Jacob Lagace all skated for the 2009-10 edition of the Screaming Eagles. Adam played the whole year in Cape Breton following a June 2009 trade from Montreal, while Legault and Lagace were added at the QMJHL trade deadline.

William Carrier played in Cape Breton when he was drafted by St. Louis, but was dealt to Drummondville one month before being acquired by the Sabres in the Ryan Miller trade.

In the WHL, Brandon Hagel is the first Sabres property to skate with the Red Deer Rebels since toughguy Craig Brunel rang up 140 penalty minutes in 35 games in the 1999-2000 season. Brunel, a ninth round pick in 1999, began his long journey as a career minor-leaguer the following season with the Rochester Americans.

Vojtech Budik will play 2016-17 with the Prince Albert Raiders, continuing a connection to central Saskatchewan that was re-kindled a season ago with the selection of Brendan Guhle. If Guhle is returned to the WHL, the pair will become the first two players drafted by the Sabres to play together in Prince Albert.

Prior to Guhle, the Sabres hadn't had a prospect play there since Brunel began the 1999-00 season with the Raiders. Shane Hnidy (1994, 7th round) was the last Sabres defensive prospect to play in Prince Albert, posting two decent seasons from 1994-96 before going on to play over 500 NHL games with six different teams.

Cliff Pu will carry on his OHL playing days with the London Knights. You don't have to dig too deep to remember Nikita Zadorov returning to the Knights' blueline in 2013-14, along the way joining fellow defensive prospect Brady Austin in London green, but in terms of forwards, Pu has work to do if he has designs on equaling Dylan Hunter's back-to-back seasons of 104 and 117 points while playing with names like Corey Perry and Dave Bolland.

Meanwhile, Austin Osmanski will continue his development in Mississauga with the same franchise that housed Gregg Sutch in 2010-11 when the then Majors hosted the 2011 Memorial Cup.

Regardless of where Brett Murray plays this season, it will mark a first for a Sabres prospect. The Sabres have never seen any player make a developmental stop at Penn State, but if he does indeed play a ramp-up year with the USHL's Youngstown franchise, he'd become the first Sabres prospect to ever play for the Phantoms as well. Youngstown has seen quite a few Jr. Sabres products come and go (Chris Bradley, Pat Conte, Zach Evancho, Kyle Mackey to name a few) since their 2003-04 inception, but they have never helped developed any Sabres draft picks.

The Tim Murray-Greg Royce duo looked to Sweden for three of their first six picks in the 2016 draft, a proposition that could introduce some new clubs into the ranks of Sabres prospects alumni.

Alex Nylander, if he were to return to Rogle BK, would be the first Sabres prospect to ever skate for the southern Swedish club. The same holds true for Rasmus Asplund, whose likely return to Farjestads BK would be a first stop for any Sabres prospect.

Defenseman Philip Nyberg will keep things a little more familiar, as he enters the NCAA Division I ranks at the University of Wisconsin, following in the footsteps of recent Sabres prospects Jake McCabe and Brad Navin.

It's also worth noting that departures from MODO will see two Sabres prospects in new SHL jerseys this season.

Following MODO's relegation to the second-tier Allsvenskan, leading scorer Victor Olofsson left to sign a deal with Frounda HC, making him the first Sabres prospect to play for the perennial powerhouse since Mikael Andersson scored 19 times in 36 games for Vastra Frolunda in 1984-85. Calle Johansson played for Vastra Frolunda before getting selected 14th overall in 1985, but moved to Bjorkloven for the next two years before making his Sabres debut.

Gustav Poossler also busted out of MODO for greener pastures, landing a two-year SHL contract with Djurgardens IF. Dennis Persson, who the Sabres chose with the 24th pick in 2006, played with DIF for two years following his selection. Persson's draft year teammate with Vasteras, Patrick Berglund, was taken one pick later, and has gone on to play over 500 NHL games.
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