Projecting the Prospects Challenge roster

The Buffalo Sabres will host the third annual Prospects Challenge from September 8 to 11 at HarborCenter.

The Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils will be joined by the Pittsburgh Penguins to compete with the Sabres in the round-robin challenge featuring prospects from each team. The participating teams will each play three games during the course of the event, which will be held entirely at HarborCenter.

Friday, Sept. 8 
Pittsburgh vs. Boston, 3:30 p.m.
Buffalo vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 9 
New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m.
Buffalo vs. Boston, 7 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 11 
Boston vs. New Jersey, 12 p.m.
Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.


So with the schedule blocked off, we're left wondering what the Sabres roster might look like when the puck drops that opening Friday night versus Nico Hischier and the Devils.

For starters, with classes in session and overseas regular seasons underway don't expect to see any collegians or Europeans. This eliminates names like:

F: Rasmus Asplund, Casey Mittlestadt, Marcus Davidsson, Christopher Brown, Max Willman
D: Will Borgen, Casey Fitzgerald, Jacob Bryson
G: Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen

With that said, let's roll with the below combinations on paper heading into the September gathering:



Jonas Johansson
Jake McGrath/Kyle Keyser

The above lineup, headlined by an OHL line, an All-NCAA line, and a CHL line, is nicely balanced with speed and complementary skill sets.

Nylander gets matching speed to play with in Pu and Baptiste, with the ice time providing a nice opportunity for Pu to show what he can do down the middle. The choice of putting Baptiste with this duo is to simply assess his chemistry with a creative player on the opposite wing.

The choices to play with Nylander set the stage for what would be a pretty dominant unit of Smith-Malone-Fasching. This mature trio sets up as a matchup nightmare given Malone's two-way speed and checking game, Smith's high-level thinking, and Fasching's size and strength. This unit would be a load to handle around the net.

The third line brings a persistent forecheck down the wings and a slick centerman that can use those scorers wisely.

The fourth line will be a troika of Amerks. Danforth and Cornel would be best served as centermen on this roster. I'd really like to see Karabacek exceed expectations, apply heat on the rest of the lineup, and see that upward pressure rewarded with an elevated role by the third game.

The defense, featuring five lefties, is easy.

A pair featuring former Prince Albert Raiders teammates leads it off.

The third pair aligns two players that will likely see time together in Cincinnati, so that leaves Stephens and Osmanski going to battle together.

Johansson gets the net.


Imagine for a minute that the Sabres could build a team from their Development Camp roster. The possibilities are endless, but looking at the potential to evaluate certain players in different roles, I'd sketch out something like this:



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