Showing posts with label zagrapan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zagrapan. Show all posts

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Odds & Ends: Southorn talking; Tropp on the way?

With 2008 draft pick Jordon Southorn recently finishing his fourth QMJHL season, The Guardian is reporting that player agent Don Meehan is talking to the Sabres about a pro deal.

Southorn said his agent, Don Meehan, is talking with the Buffalo Sabres, the team that drafted him in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2008 draft, about a three-year, entry-level contract. At the maximum, it can be worth over $825,000 a year.

Enter the Sabres blueline pipeline, where the system is rich with numbers. With Dennis Persson (one year), T.J. Brennan (two), and Drew Schiestel (two) having term remaining on their first contracts, and Nick Crawford recently added to the fold, it is thought that decisions on Portland defenders Matt Generous and Mike Kostka will play a role in what shakes out with Southorn and recent Harvard grad, Alex Biega.

The 5'11 Biega, who served as the Crimson captain this past season, moves well and plays a smart game, but the Sabres have to decide if he has enough juice to produce on the power play while providing consistent even-strength support. In 131 NCAA games in Cambridge, the Montreal native collected 15 goals and 55 assists with a net +1 rating.

Southorn, on the other hand, is waiting and working a summer job after an up-and-down season that saw a shift in his approach.

Southorn, who turns 20 today, had a solid 2009-10, if not bumpy one.
A pre-season suspension by the Rocket, his second in two seasons, cancelled Buffalo’s plans to bring him to its training camp.
But Southorn focused on his job, finished with a team-high plus-five plus-minus and fourth in hits with 86, and left the offence to itself (four goals, 19 assists, 67 games).
He was down 18 points in scoring from 2008-09, but up 18 points in his plus-minus ratio.
“I think my game changed this year. I was always the offensive guy. My plus-minus was up in the plusses,” he said. “My defensive game got much better. That’s what I was proud of.”
New head coach Eric Lavigne, hired in early October to replace the fired Guy Chouinard, stressed defensive zone coverage and it worked.

Southorn isn't a poor depth option by any stretch, but I was surprised to hear that discussions are taking place because there aren't that many jobs to go around in an organization that doesn't use an ECHL affiliate.

The Sabres have five blueliners under contract (Butler, Rivet, Sekera, Montador, Myers) entering 2010-11, with the expectation that RFAs Marc-Andre Gragnani and Mike Weber will be tendered. There is also the potential for UFA back-up plans like a Dennis Seidenberg and perhaps a Dan Hamhuis to be in place in the event that one of both of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman sign elsewhere.

If you look at the depth chart, I already have Brayden McNabb penciled in to assume Dennis Persson's AHL slot beginning in 2011-12. I'll stop short of calling Persson a lame duck this early, but he will be entering the final year of his deal with the expectation of taking a huge developmental step on the Pirates blueline.


After signing forward Luke Adam to an entry-level contract at the end of his junior season, the Sabres still have decisions to make with some forwards in the coming weeks.

It's becoming more of a certainty that Michigan State RW Corey Tropp will follow in the footsteps of past collegians Chris Butler, Nathan Gerbe, and Tim Kennedy by leaving school after his junior season to sign with the Sabres. The CCHA program has already lost juniors Jeff Petry (EDM) and Andrew Rowe (PHI) to the pro ranks this offseason, making Tropp's departure a no-brainer given the Sabres depth needs. The 6'0 winger led the Spartans this past season with 20 goals and 42 points, and with MSU bench boss Rick Comley not having a consistent track record for developing pro bodies, it may be in both parties best interests to shift the development cycle to the AHL.

With the Sabres short on forwards, it seems that Jacob Lagacé will ultimately get a look as well despite his disappointing finish with Cape Breton. The fifth-round pick in 2008, Lagacé scored five goals in 25 games with the Eagles after having 30 in 35 with Chicoutimi at the time of the deal.


In other forward 'stuff', former first-rounder Marek Zagrapan has had his two-year KHL contract with Severstal terminated after one season. After a quick start in his return to European ice, the former Sagueneen/Amerk/Pirate found it tough to earn consistent time and ultimately became a non-factor down the stretch. It remains to be seen where Zagrapan will land moving forward, but the Sabres will continue to retain his NHL rights while the sting of another first round disappointment subsides.


Speaking of Sabres European prospects, Felix Schutz made noise on the international stage when he scored the overtime winner as Germany shocked Team USA to win the opening game of the 2010 IIHF World Championships. It was a nice touch for Schutz after a tough second half in Portland that saw the tweener limited in ice time while being left off the Pirates clear day roster.

Schutz has two goals through three games for Germany, while fellow Sabres prospect Philip Gogulla has yet to record a point.


When the University of North Dakota began stockpiling defensive recruits like Derek Forbort and Dillon Simpson, we began to think long and hard about the impact it would all have on Sabres 2008 third-rounder, Corey Fienhage. When Fienhage was sat late in the year in favor of forward-turned-defenseman Matt Davidson, those thoughts intensified.

When we reported that Fienhage was placed on the protected list by the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, the writing was seemingly being scribbled on the proverbial wall.

But when Fighting Sioux junior Chay Genoway announced that he would be returning to the team in 2010-11, the message on the wall stated that Fienhage was outsy.

Nothing is official, but whispers around Grand Forks are suggesting that Fienhage is as good as gone (along with Isles prospect David Toews). Fienhage needs to play, and since he didn't get in the lineup last season until Genoway suffered a concussion, it isn't too difficult to connect the dots.

My question is where does Fienhage go? If he opts for the WHL, his window to earn a deal is cut down to one season. Another option has him seeking a scholarship elsewhere, thus sending him to the USHL for a season of Jr. A to retain his NCAA eligibility, and in turn allow the Sabres to keep his rights for a longer term.

Fienhage is rugged and tough, and I would be eager to watch his game translate to the WHL. However, Fienhage is just 20 and needs consistent reps after playing a scant 39 games over two seasons with the Sioux. Couple that with the fact that the Sabres blueline prospect cupboard is already crowded, and I fully expect the Sabres to advise him to somehow stay in school.


While we're at it, might as well make official what we already knew. Mark Adams, the Sabres fifth round pick last summer, will be enrolling at Providence College this fall. The right-hander will join Vermont junior defenseman Drew MacKenzie in the competitive Hockey East.

Adams, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman, was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fifth round (134th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He played three seasons at Malden Catholic High School before spending one season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. While with Chicago, Adams played in 53 games and recorded four goals and 10 assists for 14 points during the 2009-10 season.

After a minor shoulder injury in the first half, "Roo" got his game clicking as the Steel's year wound down. Adams has good wheels that he'll need to use to limit stick infractions as he steps up a level of competition.


Lastly, if you're not doing so already, try to follow SabresProspects on Twitter. I'll be in Los Angeles for the draft and will be using it to communicate throughout the entire week. This space will be updated as well, of course, but that feed should be more lively.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

10/23 Recap: Tropp atop; Lagace clocked

No where near being back in full, but here's the Friday tour... Corey Tropp continued his hot start on Friday, notching an assist on the Spartans only goal as Michgan State lost a 2-1 decision to top-ranked Miami. With five goals and five assists in five games, Tropp leads the nation in scoring heading into Saturday night's rematch. RedHawks netminder Connor Knapp is slotted for his regular Saturday start after getting pulled in last week's 5-5 tie with New Hampshire. In the QMJHL, Luke Adam had a goal and two assists as Cape Breton lost to PEI, 7-4. Adam currently ranks 9th in Q scoring wth seven goals and 14 assists. Rocket dman Jordon Southorn collected a five-minute major for a second period tussle with Eagles captain Nick MacNeil. Jacob Lagace was knocked out of action in the first period by a Danick Paquette (ATL) body check as Chicoutimi defeated Quebec, 4-2. Lagace, who was caught with his head down, could miss additional time as the Remparts forechecker left his feet to deliver the blow. Earlier in the week, Adam and Lagace were named to Team QMJHL for the 2009 Subway Super Series against Team Russia. Unable to reach terms on a deal with the Sabres that would have kept him in Portland, Maxime Legault returned to the QMJHL for Friday night action, finishing -1 with 2 PIM as Shawinigan bested Lewiston, 6-3. The 6'2 right wing was pointless with 4 PIM in five AHL games. In Russia, Marek Zagrapan scored his sixth goal of the year as Severstal lost to Spartak, 3-1. The Sabres first pick in 2005, Zagrapan is currently the team's second leading scorer with 10 points in 17 games. In the OHL, Marcus Foligno was +2 with a pair of even-strength assists as Sudbury downed Sarnia, 4-2. Nick Crawford was -3 with an assist as Saginaw dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to Kingston. Summer camper Michael Fine had three assists for Fronts. In WHL action, Brayden McNabb saw a slapshot from the point tipped in for the only Ice goal as Kootenay fell to Portland, 5-1. The defenseman's assist moves his point total to 15 on the year, while his game-low -4 finish lands him at a cumulative -3. Elsewhere in the NCAA, Drew MacKenzie finished -1 as Vermont lost to Merrimack, 5-2. Summer camper Brayden Irwin scored the second Catamounts goal. Starter Nick Eno surrendered four goals on 22 shots before getting pulled as Bowling Green was blown out by Providence, 8-2. Justin Jokinen was quiet as Mankato got thrashed on home-ice by Wisconsin, 6-0. Brad Eidsness took the night off for the first time in his WCHA career as North Dakota blanked Alaska-Anchorage, 5-0. Sophomore dman Corey Fienhage continued his press box streak dating back to last January. Alex Biega pumped home a power play goal as Harvard tied McGill, 3-3. The senior defenseman fired a total fo seven shots on goal in the Crimson's first exhibition game of the season. In the USHL, Mark Adams was -1 with a shot on goal as Chicago won at Lincoln, 7-5.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

10/13-16 Recap: Tropp, Lagacé get tricky; Eidsness blanks rival

Corey Tropp scored his first collegiate hat trick Friday as Michigan State posted a big win at Maine, 5-3. The junior right wing scored one goal at even strength, and one each on the power play and penalty kill. Tropp was excellent with the puck throughout, making sharp moves around defenders to earn six shots on goal to help push the Spartans to a 3-0 season start. In the QMJHL, Jacob Lagacé had three goals and an assist as Chicoutimi plowed their way to a 6-4 win over Halifax. The 5'11, 196-pound forward filled an empty net in the final minute to complete his second career hat trick. The game's #1 star, Lagacé becomes the first Sabres prospect to hit double-digit goals with 10 in 12 games. Brad Eidsness stopped all 22 shots sent his way as North Dakota defended home-ice with a 4-0 shutout of rival Minnesota. The sophomore made a few clutch stops along the way to move to 3-0 on the season. The shutout, Eidsness' second of his NCAA career, was sealed when the Sioux killed off a five minute major in the final minutes.
Sophomore Corey Fienhage was again a healthy scratch for the Fighting Sioux. In the WHL, Brayden McNabb continued his strong 2009-10 start, notching his third goal of the year and finishing +2 as Kootenay edged Spokane, 4-3. The 6'4 defenseman also earned a fighting major when he tangled with Chiefs disturber Kyle Beach (CHI) after the Ice scored the game's first goal.
Elsewhere, Luke Adam scored his fifth goal of the year and went 16 of 24 at the faceoff circle as Cape Breton defeated Shawinigan, 2-1. The consistent 6'2 center has five goals and 11 assists by collecting points in all but two of his 11 games this season. Jordon Southorn was -2 as PEI was shutout by Moncton, 4-0. Top 2009 prospect Kirill Kabanov had three assists for the victorious Wildcats. In the OHL, Nick Crawford scored a goal and finished +1 as Saginaw defeated Sault Ste. Marie, 4-1. Crawford's third goal of the year got the 7-2-1 Spirit on the board in the first period to help hand the Hounds their fourth straight defeat after being the hottest OHL club in the first two weeks of the season. Marcus Foligno was -1 with hooking and roughing minors as Sudbury lost to Oshawa, 3-1. In the WCHA, Justin Jokinen had four shots on goal as Mankato dropped a 5-2 decision at Duluth. The sophomore right wing missed a chance at this first goal of the year when a good opportunity went high with his club trailing 2-1 in the second period. Nick Eno made 14 saves and surrendered one goal against as three Bowling Green netminders split time in a 7-2 exhibition loss to the USA U18s. DU-bound Nick Shore banked a puck off Eno from behind the goal line to put the Falcons down 5-0 in the late second period. ------------------------------------------- Playing catch-up.... Jordon Southorn was +2 with an assist on Tuesday as PEI shutout a strong Saint John club by a 4-0 count. Marek Zagrapan was even with two shots on goal as Severstal lost a tough one to HC MVD, 2-1. On Wednesday, Luke Adam had a pair of assists as Cape Breton downed Montreal, 6-2. Jacob Lagacé scored his seventh goal of the year on the power play as Chicoutimi came up short in a 3-2 loss to Rimouski. Vjacheslav Buravchikov was even through 12:16 of work in Ak Bars' 3-1 win over Motorist. In Thursday Q action, Southorn was -2 as PEI defeated Moncton, 4-2.

Monday, October 12, 2009

10/12 Recap: McNabb lights lamp; Foligno goes down fighting

A day removed from seeing the end of his nine-game point streak, Brayden McNabb (+1) started another by scoring his second goal of the year in Kootenay's 3-1 loss at Swift Current. Through 11 games this season, the 6'4, 210-pound defenseman co-leads the Ice in points (13), while ranking second in the league in assists (11), and third in penalty minutes (35). In 2008-09, McNabb posted a goal and four helpers through the first 11 games. In the OHL, Marcus Foligno finished -1 as Sudbury was blown out by Memorial Cup champion Windsor, 7-0. 2010 top dog Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist for the Spits, while Niagara Falls, Ontario native Justin Shugg ('10) had a goal and two assists. A chippy Foligno totaled 9 PIM in the turkey day battle, with the final five coming at 59:59 when he decided to take on Spits 6'4 captain, Harry Young. Young is a tough customer, racking up 50 fights over his five-year OHL career.
Like McNabb in the Dub, the 6'3, 216-pound Foligno is currently third in OHL PIM with 37. Despite toting one of the league's worst records (3-6-0-1), the Wolves are a difficult foe nightly thanks in part to his consistent carving and banging. In the KHL, Marek Zagrapan was even with a hooking minor as Severstal defeated Lada, 3-2. Vjacheslav Buravchikov continues a bumpy run, finishing -1 in 9:44 of work as Ak Bars lost to SKA, 4-3.

Friday, October 9, 2009

10/8 recap: Kassian remains out; NCAA on deck

With a separated shoulder sidelining captain Zack Kassian for at least another week, Peterborough rallied together Thursday for a 7-1 pasting of Erie. Ryan Spooner ('10) paced the Petes with two goals and an assist. In Thursday KHL action, Marek Zagrapan was -1 as Severstal defeated Ak Bars, 3-1. Defenseman Vjacheslav Buravchikov was a scratch for Ak Bars. Friday will be a productive night in the prospectsphere, with the first batch of NCAA non-conference games getting added to the junior slate. Corey Tropp and Michigan State will host Clarkson for a weekend set, while North Dakota's Brad Eidsness and Corey Fienhage will be in action against Merrimack. Nick Eno should get the start when Bowling Green faces Justin Jokinen and Minnesota State. In Colorado, Drew MacKenzie and the University of Vermont will take on Denver. With Miami coach Enrico Blasi expected to use a Friday/Saturday rotation with his talented sophomore tandem, goaltender Connor Knapp is expected to get the Saturday nod as CCHA powerhouse Miami takes on St. Cloud. In junior play, Brayden McNabb and the Kootenay Ice will trek east to battle Brayden Schenn and the Brandon Wheat Kings. In the OHL, Marcus Foligno and Sudbury will take on Nick Crawford and Saginaw, while the Kassian-less Petes will battle Mississauga. In Quebec, Jacob Lagacé and Chicoutimi will host Shawinigan. Mark Adams will continue to get his USHL legs under him when Chicago hosts Waterloo.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Zagrapan panning out early

KHL rookie Marek Zagrapan seems to be getting the job done offensively in his new digs. On Wednesday, the former Rochester and Portland forward scored a goal and an assist as Severstal pushed past Dynamo, 4-2. The fresh start has seen Zagrapan net four goals and two assists through eight games thus far, placing him second on Severstal's scoring list for goals and points while averaging less than 12:00 of time per game. In Thursday KHL action, Vjacheslav Buravchikov played even as Ak Bars defeated Torpedo, 3-1. Buravchikov is -3 with an assist in eight games this season.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

9/25 Recap: Friday night fights

Marcus Foligno led the way physcially on Friday, earning a noticeable +2 as Sudbury defeated well-balanced Barrie, 4-3. The 6'3, 216-pounder did not register a point, but he set an early tone with a fight, instigator, and misconduct on his first shift after coming to the aid of star teammate, John McFarland ('10). A projected top-10 pick next June, McFarland was rocked cleanly in open ice by Colts veteran dman, Ryan Gottschalk. Foligno reacted quickly, making a beeline and taking the scrap. The win was the Wolves first of the year, with an opportunity for two more coming Saturday and Sunday against Belleville and Oshawa. In Oshawa, Zack Kassian had an assist as Peterborough defeated the Generals, 6-4. The Petes captain matched OHL mate Foligno, earning a major, instigator, and misconduct for a quick second period southpaw session with Gens' 6'3, 221-pound forward Victor Terreri ('10).
Kassian has points in all four Petes games thus far, and will look for five on Saturday against Kingston. In the QMJHL, Luke Adam kept his gloves on and posted an assist as Cape Breton lost to Moncton, 4-1. Adam's helper came on the power play when the rebound of his shot was scooped up by Nick MacNeil. The Eagles, who have scored the first goal in four straight games, will next take the ice on Friday at Bathrust. At the USHL Fall Classic, Mark Adams and Chicago edged Omaha, 5-4. Adams (2 PIM) did not factor into any of the goals, but adjusted well to the quick Lancer forwards. The Steel move to 2-3 on the pre-season. Marek Zagrapan and the rest of his teammates were quiet in Severstal's 1-0 overtime loss to Novosibirsk. The Slovakian was whistled for a tripping minor on his first shift, and did not register a shot on goal all game.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

9/23 Recap: Marek on mark with new bunch

Marek Zagrapan had a busy second period on Wednesday, igniting Severstal with two goals and an assist in a 4-1 win over Amur. Zagrapan, who was also +2 on the game, sits as the club's second leading scorer (3-1-4) through five games despite averaging just 12:14 of action. In the WHL, Brayden McNabb (+1) earned an assist as Kootenay needed a shootout to edge Edmonton, 3-2. McNabb, who entered the game tied for the Ice lead with four points, helped put Kootenay on the board when his point blast was tipped in by Steele Boomer at 9:35 of the first period. The 6'4 defender brought the heat physically as well, laying solid pops in the final period including one on Tomas Vincour (DAL) to held give the Ice the comeback edge. In the QMJHL, Jordon Southorn was sidelined with a flu bug as PEI dumped undefeated Saint John, 6-1. The Rocket are tied with the Sea Dogs for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

9/22 Recap: Pirates ship begins to fill; KHL heating up

The Sabres today announced their first batch of names leaving camp for farm assignments. Off to Portland of the AHL are the following 14 players: F: Tyler Ennis, Paul Byron, Maxime Legault, Travis Turnbull, Derek Whitmore, Kyle Rank, Brad Larsen, Mark McCutcheon D: T.J. Brennan, Drew Schiestel, Dennis Persson, Matt Generous, Mike Kostka D. J.P. Lamoureux No real surprising moves, as all were expected to start the year with the Pirates. Ennis had the potential to play one more game, but there are too many other battles to be won in other areas. Technically still the captain of the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL, Legault, 20, will shoot for an AHL roster spot and first NHL contract when he reports. The cutdown leaves 33 players still in camp including defensive prospects Tyler Myers, Mike Weber, and Marc-Andre Gragnani; forwards Nathan Gerbe, Tim Kennedy, Philip Gogulla, and Felix Schutz; and goaltender Jhonas Enroth. For those who've not watched any of the pre-season games, Myers has gradually gotten better with each of his three appearances. He's shown an adjustment to speed, demonstrated good escapability to start breakouts, and used his stick well to break up plays for quick clears. At this point I score him ahead of Gragnani and Weber, who committed several turnovers in Monday's win over Washington, but need more views to project him out against the current top-6. ---------------------------- Overseas, a pair of 2005 draft picks are getting deeper into their KHL seasons. Vjacheslav Buravchikov was -2 on as Ak Bars lost to Avangard on Tuesday, 3-1. The 6'1 dman manned the bottom pair with Alexei Yemelin (MTL) for 15:03 if action, a few ticks above his season average of 13:45. Ak Bars next plays on Thursday at Barys. On Monday, Marek Zagrapan was -1 as Severstal dropped a 3-1 decision to Metallurg. The 23-year old is -3 with four shots on goal in three games since scoring the winner in the season opener. Severstal will take the ice on Wednesday against an Amur club carrying former Sabres defenseman, Nolan Pratt. -------- Also of note, PEI's Jordon Southorn stayed away from practice Tuesday with a bug, and may not be ready to go for their Wednesday tilt with 4-0 Saint John. Brayden McNabb and Kootenay will host the Edmonton Oil Kings in a mid-week WHL battle.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

9/17 Recap: Kassian captains streakbuster; "A" group battles Caps

The Sabres sent a half-dozen junior players back to their CHL clubs on Thursday just hours before starting their 2009 pre-season schedule. However, only five of the six were afforded down time as one prospect was able to drive 100 miles home to arrive in time for the start of his team's regular season. Peterborough Petes captain Zack Kassian left Buffalo in the 2:00 hour and joined his mates prior to the 7:11 puck drop with Brampton. Seeing loads of ice time from coach Ken McRae, the 6'3 banger assisted on the game-tying goal midway through the third period as the Petes came back to edge the Battalion, 2-1. The Petes victory was their first over the Troops since November 2006, a span covering nine regular season games and another four from last season's playoff sweep. Joining Kassian back in the OHL will be Marcus Foligno, who returned to Sudbury for Friday's contest with Erie, and Saginaw's Nick Crawford, who will get with the Spirit for their opener at Guelph. WHL defenseman Brayden McNabb is expected to play in Kootenay's season opener against Lethbridge after a late-Thursday arrival. Capping the list of departees, Cape Breton center Luke Adam and Chicoutimi's Jacob Lagacé are back in the QMJHL for weekend action. Adam will make his Screaming Eagles debut on Saturday against Saint John. Lagacé will be in uniform for weekend games against Victoriaville and Quebec. --------------------------- With six leaving town, the Sabres "A" list of remaining prospects got a solid look as the club opened the pre-season with a 4-3 OT loss to Washington. Bubble forwards Nathan Gerbe (16:25), Tyler Ennis (15:40), Philip Gogulla (13:54), and Tim Kennedy (13:36) all saw nice chunks of action, while Tyler Myers (21:01), Marc-Andre Gragnani (17:02), Mike Kostka (16:41), and Mike Weber (21:26) formed a youthful backline with Chris Butler and Andrej Sekera. Jhonas Enroth finished the game in Buffalo's net after Patrick Lalime's played his period-and-a-half. Myers (+1) made a positive impression by using his reach, executing sharp passes, and even making a nice hit on Caps defender John Carlson. As expected there's still a speed adjustment needed in terms of being an everyday NHL defenseman, but the foundation is clearly in place. In my opinion, the NHL-CHL rule with 19-year old players needs to be amended to at least allow first-round NHL picks to play in the AHL in their second post-draft season. Regardless of contract/budget issues, I'm seeing little developmental value in Myers going back to dominate the WHL. Ennis, who will make any line buzz when placed down the middle, put his speed and passing skills on display with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville as wings. The creative element that Ennis brings to the top-six will not be ignored once the necessary strength is built on his smallish frame. His line saw top-unit power play time, yet connected for even strength damage on Buffalo's first goal of the night by Pominville. Also worth noting was the smart, effective blueline work by Kostka. The 23-year old hit for two shots on goal and picked up an assist on the Pominville tally. The goal tied the game at 1-1 after a Weber (-1) miscue earlier allowed the Caps a 1-0 lead. Late in the third period with the score tied 2-2, Gerbe's grunting forecheck behind the Caps' cage resulted in Gogulla finding Kennedy, who buried a backhand to put the Sabres ahead with 2:32 to play. With anything possible, the trio could be a potent combo if all three land on the farm to start the year. Just :23 later, a Gragnani turnover would allow Jay Beagle to beat Enroth and force overtime. A Brian Pothier slapper while on a 5-3 power play ended tings just :49 into the extra session. Enroth entered the game at 13:13 of the middle period, allowing three goals on 26 shots. (13:13. 26 shots. An interesting thought for superstitious stat junkies.) He got a taste of the NHL's down-low pressure on his first goal against scored by vet Mike Knuble, but played well overall. Remaining prospects in camp include T.J. Brennan, Drew Schiestel, Felix Schutz, Paul Byron, Matt Generous, Travis Turnbull, and Maxime Legault. All but Legault are under contract and slated for Portland. The Sabres will return to exhibition action on Saturday in Detroit. --------------------------- In Thursday KHL action, Marek Zagrapan was kept off the sheet as Severstal dropped a 2-0 decision to Mettalurg.

Monday, September 14, 2009

9/13 Recap: Zagrapan starts anew

Marek Zagrapan made his KHL debut Sunday, scoring what proved to be the game winning goal and finishing +1 as Severstal defeated Avtomobilist, 4-1. Zagrapan, chosen 13th overall at the 2005 draft, scored 56 goals and 127 points in three AHL seasons between Rochester and Portland. When his entry-level deal with the Sabres expired in the off-season, the RFA bolted for KHL colors in Cherepovets, an industrial city in northern Russia. Despite the move, the Sabres extended Zagrapan a 'qualifying offer' in June to retain his NHL rights. His KHL deal with Severstal is for three seasons, but he can opt out after year two if the Sabres were to offer a one-way NHL contract (or perhaps trade his rights). Also from Sunday, Jordon Southorn (+2, 1 SOG) assisted on the game winning goal as PEI edged Halifax, 7-4. The win gives the Rocket a 2-0 regular season jump before the 60+ QMJHLers in NHL camps start trickling back to junior. The Rocket next plays on Friday at Moncton. In the USHL, Mark Adams helped Chicago open the pre-season with a 6-2 win over Youngstown on Friday. The 6'3, 207-pounder was -1 as the Steel dropped the Saturday rematch, 3-1.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/11 Recap: Southorn lights lamp; KHL gets krackin'

Jordon Southorn cast the first Sabres-centric stone of the 2009-10 regular season, scoring a goal and adding five hits as PEI defeated Moncton, 2-1, in the QMJHL opener for both teams. Paired with Czech import Adam Polasek, Southorn (+1) put forth a strong effort by leading numerous rushes up-ice and getting shots to the goal area while settling his own zone. He put the Rocket on the board at 8:55 at the second period when his crisp rising wrist-shot beat Wendell Vye to tie the game 1-1. These are the types of tempo dictating efforts that the 19-year old lefty will have to regularly produce to remain in the Sabres mix after a suspension kept him from skating in his second NHL camp alongside fellow Q'ers Luke Adam, Jacob Lagacé, and Maxime Legault. At 6'2, 200-pounds, Southorn has the frame, skating, and two-way tools to develop into a solid professional. As the raw foundation is present, demonstrating growth in consistency and maturity could make the Sabres' contract decisions more interesting next offseason. If the money wasn't there to sign RW Andrew Orpik for depth, the Sabres are in no position to gamble with character when the blueline is already well-stocked. A Harvard educated leader with a two-year experience edge, Alex Biega, 21, appears to be the better bet for a deal at this point, but it will be interesting to monitor the year since Southorn has the potential to put up some big numbers on the Island. -------------- In Thursday's KHL opener, recently re-upped Vjacheslav Buravchikov logged nearly 14:00 of icetime and spent another 4:00 in the box as Ak Bars defeated Lokomotiv, 3-2 in OT. On Saturday, Ak Bars fell to Spartak by a 4-1 count. Severstal's Marek Zagrapan will make his KHL debut on Sunday against Motorist.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Zagrapan off to Russia

After three seasons in the AHL, 6'1 center Marek Zagrapan has signed a two-year deal with Severstal of the KHL. The Slovakian had just completed the final season of his three-year entry level contract with the Sabres. Zagrapan, chosen 13th overall by the Sabres in 2005, scored 66 goals and 127 points over his three years in Rochester/Portland after a two-year stint with Chicoutimi of the QMJHL. After not getting a sniff of the NHL during that time, agent Petr Svoboda thought it best for the 22-year old to leave for Russia with hopes of one day getting another shot at the NHL.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pirates eliminated

The 2008-09 season has come to end for Portland Pirates, as the farmhands were defeated 2-1 by Providence on Friday to lose their AHL first round series by a 4-1 margin. Mike Kostka scored the only goal for the Pirates on the power play while Jhonas Enroth, who was fantastic in the Pirates net, stopped 36 of 38 Bruins shots. The Rundown: Kostka: G, -1 Gragnani: A Mancari: 4 SOG Kennedy: 3 SOG Gerbe: 2 SOG Butler: 2 SOG Schutz: 2 SOG Generous: even Persson: even Zagrapan: even Whitmore: -1 Turnbull: -1 Enroth: 36 saves, L

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pirates head home with a split

The Portland Pirates kicked off the first round of the AHL playoffs this week with a road split in Providence. On Wednesday, Marek Zagrapan had a pair of goals and Jhonas Enroth made 28 saves as the Pirates shut out the Bruins, 3-0. Felix Schutz scored his first playoff goal, while Mark Mancari picked up two assists. Recent addition Dennis Persson did not dress for Portland. The Rundown: Zagrapan: 2G, +2, 5 SOG Schutz: 1G, +1 Mancari: 2A, +2 Gragnani: A, +3 Gerbe: 4 SOG Kennedy: 1 SOG Butler: 2 SOG Whitmore: even Turnbull: 2 SOG Kostka: 1 SOG Generous: 1 SOG Enroth: 28 saves, SO On Friday, the Pirates could only muster a Tyler Bouck wrister in the third period as the Bruins evened things up with a 2-1 in. Derek Whitmore drew an assist on Bouck's short-handed goal. Enroth made 38 saves to earn the game's #3 star. Mike Kostka dinged a leg in the loss, potentially paving the way for Matt Generous or Persson to re-enter the lineup for Sunday's game three. The Rundown: Whitmore: 1A, +1 Gragnani: +1, 2 SOG Gerbe: -1, 4 SOG Mancari: -1, 5 SOG Kennedy: -1 Butler: 2 SOG Zagrapan: -1 Schutz: 2 SOG Turnbull: 1 SOG Kostka: -1 Enroth: 38 saves

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Playoff bound Pirates win final tune-up

AHL Rookie of the Year Nathan Gerbe scored a pair of goals, his 29th and 30th of the year, as Portland closed its regular season with a 5-4 win over Manchester. Pirates rookie Matt Generous scored his first career goal in the win. Playing his fourth game since ending his NCAA run with St. Lawrence, the Chesire, CT native also received his first fighting major at 1:51 of the first period to miss the Gordie Howe Hat Trick by an assist. Tim Kennedy added two assists, while Felix Schutz, Marek Zagrapan, Marc-Andre Gragnani, and Mark Mancari all were credited with single helpers. The win gives the Pirates the #3 seed in the AHL Atlantic Division playoffs. Portland travels to #2 Providence on Wednesday for Game 1 of the best-of-seven series. The Rundown: Gerbe: 2G Generous: 1G Kennedy: 2A Zagrapan: 1A, 4 SOG Schutz: 1A, +1 Gragnani: 1A Mancari: 1A Kostka: +1 Turnbull: -1 Whitmore: -1

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pirates split weekend, remain in third

Tim Kennedy had a goal and two assists, and Nathan Gerbe and Mark Mancari each had a goal and an assist as Portland upended Springfield, 6-4. Jhonas Enroth made 33 saves to improve his record to 25-22-0-6 on the season. Going 5-1-0-1 in their last seven games, the victory moves the Pirates (37-30-3-7 - 84 points) one point ahead of Worcester for third place in the Atlantic Division. The two teams will square off on Wednesday. The Rundown: Kennedy: 1G, 2A, +2 Gerbe: 1G, 1A, +3 Mancari: 1G, 1A Zagrapan: 6 SOG Generous: 4 SOG, 6 PIM Schutz: 2 SOG Gragnani: -1 Turnbull: 1 SOG Persson: 2 SOG Kostka: +1 Enroth: 33 saves, W On Saturday, Enroth made 30 saves but the Pirates lost a 3-2 shootout to Providence. Gerbe and Marc-Andre Gragnani drew assists for the Pirates on goals by Mathieu Darche and Colton Fretter. Matt Generous finished +1 in his first appearance in a Portland sweater. Kennedy, Mancari, Zagrapan, and Gerbe could not beat Tuukka Rask in the shootout. The Rundown: Gerbe: 1A, +1, 6 SOG Gragnani: 1A, -1 Kennedy: -1 Mancari: -1 Zagrapan: -1 Generous: +1 Schutz: 1 SOG Kostka: -1 Persson: -1 Whitmore: 2 SOG Enroth: 30 saves, SOL

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pirates dump Devils

On Friday, Portland got a pair of goals from Mathieu Darche and 35 saves from Jhonas Enroth to defeat Lowell, 3-1. Marek Zagrapan sealed the win with an empty net goal, his 21st of the season, while Mike Kostka had a power-play assist on the first Darche goal. Portland's leading scorer among defensemen, Marc-Andre Gragnani, skated as a left-wing on the Pirates fourth line with Derek Whitmore at center. The Rundown: Zagrapan: 1G Kostka: 1A, +2 Gerbe: +1 Mancari: +1 Kennedy: +1 Schutz: -1 Persson: 1 SOG Whitmore: 2 SOG Gragnani: even Enroth: 35 saves, W

Thursday, April 2, 2009

4/1 Recap: Gerbe, Kennedy named All-Rookie; Zagrapan hits 20

On Wednesday, Marek Zagrapan scored his 20th of the season and added an assist as Portland lost to Hartford, 5-3. Zagrapan hits the 20-goal barrier for the first time in his young career after years of 17 and 18 goals. Tim Kennedy notched his 17th goal, while defensemen Dennis Persson, Mike Kostka, and Marc-Andre Gragnani had assists in the loss. Jhonas Enroth made 26 saves to move his record to 23-22-0-5. The Rundown: Zagrapan: 1G, 1A, 5 SOG Kennedy: 1G Persson: 1A, -1 Kostka: 1A, -1 Gragnani: 1A, -3 Gerbe: 6 SOG Mancari: 8 SOG Whitmore: -2 Schutz: -1 Enroth: 26 saves Earlier in the day, Gerbe and Kennedy were both named to the AHL All-Rookie Team. 2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team Tim Kennedy, Forward (Portland Pirates): A teammate of Justin Abdelkader's on Michigan State's 2007 national championship team, Tim Kennedy stormed out of the gate by registering a point in his first nine professional games for Portland this season. He leads all AHL rookies with 43 assists and 59 points in 66 games overall and has registered 14 multiple-point efforts. The 22-year-old made his NHL debut for the Sabres in his hometown of Buffalo on Dec. 27 and was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week on Feb. 15 with five goals and 10 points in a four-game span. Nathan Gerbe, Forward (Portland Pirates): Nathan Gerbe has torn up the AHL for 26 goals and 50 points in just 50 games for Portland this season, including seven multiple-goal efforts and a hat trick. Drafted by Buffalo in 2005, Gerbe made his National Hockey League debut with the Sabres in December and has contributed one assist in 10 NHL games this year. A native of Oxford, Mich., the 21-year-old Gerbe reached the NCAA title game in each of his three seasons at Boston College and led the nation in scoring en route to winning the national championship in 2007-08. 2008-09 AHL All-Rookie Team Goaltender: Nathan Lawson, Bridgeport Sound Tigers (30gp, 18-9-2, 2.13gaa, .929sv%, 2so) Defenseman: Mattias Karlsson, Binghamton Senators (67gp, 8+41=49pts.) Defenseman: Yannick Weber, Hamilton Bulldogs (66gp, 14+27=41pts.) Forward: Justin Abdelkader, Grand Rapids Griffins (71gp, 22+27=49pts.) Forward: Nathan Gerbe, Portland Pirates (50gp, 26+24=50pts.) Forward: Tim Kennedy, Portland Pirates (66gp, 16+43=59pts.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Felix feelin' it, Persson points as Pirates produce

Felix Schutz had a goal and two assists, while Tim Kennedy scored the late game winner to go along with an earlier helper as Portland defeated lowly Springfield, 4-3, to earn their first three-game win streak since January. Playing in his second career AHL game, Dennis Persson received the only assist on Kennedy's goal while Nathan Gerbe and Marc-Andre Gragnani also chipped in an assist each. Jhonas Enroth made 33 saves to collect his 23rd win of the season. The Rundown: Schutz: 1G, 2A, +1 Kennedy: GWG, 1A, 2 SOG Gerbe: 1A, +1, 5 SOG Persson: 1A Gragnani: 1A Kostka: even Zagrapan: -1 Whitmore: -1 Mancari: -1 Enroth: 33 saves, W On Saturday, Marek Zagrapan had three assists as the Pirates rode a Colin Murphy hat trick past Manchester, 5-2. Gragnani had a goal and an assist for Portland, while Gerbe potted his 26th goal of the year. The Rundown: Gragnani: 1G, 1A Gerbe: 1G, -1, 7 SOG Zagrapan: 3A, +1 Mancari: 1A, +1 Whitmore: even Kostka: 2 SOG Persson: -1 Schutz: -1 Enroth: 24 Saves, W