Sunday, August 1, 2021

Desroches, Casey to join Sabres for Prospects Challenge

The Sabres have once again dipped into QMJHL waters with rookie camp invitations as two-way defender Charlie Desroches and longtime Charlottetown forward Thomas Casey will head to Buffalo in September.

Desroches is a right-shot puck mover that carries the skill profile of a player that probably should be drafted. His skating and vision are higher level, and while being known as a solid passer, his shot is quick and accurate. Desroches accrued 15 goals and 60 total points in 119 games over his first two seasons before coming back in for the shortened 2020-21 schedule to post 26 points (4+22) in 32 games.

A fairly complete rearguard, Desroches, 19, is highly engaged defensively to the point that he can defend against the opposition's top forwards. He exhibits smarts and a solid set of technical skills, but he isn't shy about using his body. He's comfortable meeting rush head on and closing off his man into the boards. 

Given how the Sabres prospect ranks are shorter on right-shot D, the Desroches invitation has some potential to develop into a compelling storyline if he stands out in Prospects Challenge games versus the Devils and Bruins prospects.

A speedy competitor, Casey recently concluded his junior career with 34 goals and 74 points in 38 games as an overager last season, good for second among league scorers. He added another seven points (3+4) in eight playoff contests. 

Casey's game is built on speed and an attacking mindset that provides energy on and off the puck. As his game progressed and his confidence soared at the junior level, he made a a greater impact by using his wheeling feet to back defenders off. Casey has clearly proven himself as a playmaker, but his character and willingness to do the little things were major factors as he evolved into one of the league's most improved players over his four years with the Islanders.

A free-agent invite to Detroit Red Wings Development Camp in 2019, Casey is committed to attend the University of New Brunswick this fall where he'll skate with the perennial U Sports powerhouse Reds.