It’s no secret that not a lot of people are betting on the Buffalo Sabres to make the playoffs next season. In fact, they are a popular choose to finish at or near the bottom of the NHL standings.
If that does happen, there will be a silver lining for Sabres fans as the upcoming draft is shaping up to be a great one. Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have the potential to develop into players that a team could build a successful franchise around and both will give Buffalo fans an early preview of what they’re capable of this fall.
Eichel has been invited to the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 25, which will be held at Buffalo’s First Niagara Center, per NHL.com. He’s set to play for Boston University this season.
“He’s one of the most heralded incoming freshmen to come to Boston University in a long time,” Boston University coach David Quinn said. “He’s not only a great player but a great kid and will have a lot to offer our program both on and off the ice.”
Eichel is also expected to headline the States’ world junior team, which is looking to rebound after falling to Russia in the quarterfinals in 2014.
Roughly a month after the All-American Prospects Game, the Sabres will host an OHL game between the Niagara Ice Dogs and McDavid’s Erie Otters.
Corey Perry will spearhead the leadership group looking to guide Canada to its second straight gold medal at the World Hockey Championships.
On Thursday, the Canadian contingent announced that Perry would captain the squad at this year’s tournament, to be held in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Joining him in the leadership group will be Colorado’s Matt Duchene, and Buffalo’s Ryan O'Reilly.
“This is an energetic young team, and these three players bring a mixture of youth and experience in their leadership role on the ice and in the dressing room,” Canadian head coach Bill Peters said, per the Toronto Sun. “Their resumes speak for themselves — they know what it takes to compete at the highest level, and have all been part of pulling together Team Canada successes during these short-term events.”
Unlike Duchene and O’Reilly, Perry wasn’t a part of last year’s championship team, but does have extensive international experience. He was part of the Canadian teams that captured gold at the ’10 Olympics in Vancouver at the ’14 games in Sochi.
He’s also played in a pair of World Championships, but failed to medal both times.
In just a few short months, Trevor Daley has gone from not being a fit in Chicago to being an indispensable part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The veteran defenseman played almost 30 minutes last night, by far the most of any Penguin. Despite the absence of Kris Letang and Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh was able to beat the Capitals in overtime and take a 3-1 series lead back to Washington.
“It’s funny how this game works,” Daley said, per the Penguins’ website. “You stick with it and good things happen. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I’m in a good place here. I’m enjoying it with a great group of guys. We just play. That’s been our motto since I got here, since (Mike Sullivan) got here – just play.”
Traded to Pittsburgh in December, with Rob Scuderi going to the Blackhawks, Daley’s strengths were immediately utilized by Sullivan. The Penguins’ new head coach came in emphasizing the importance of breakouts, and that suited Daley just fine.
“Over the years my game has been getting in the play, moving the puck,” Daley said after he was traded. “I’m not the biggest guy so I won’t push guys over. I get into areas quickly and try to be a good team guy.”
It was simply a good match. And for that, GM Jim Rutherford should be applauded. The Penguins are one game away from the Eastern Conference Final, and Daley is a big reason why.
Related: Penguins provided ‘fresh start’ for Daley
After not playing anywhere this year, longtime NHL blueliner Anton Volchenkov is back in action, having signed a deal with KHL club Admiral Vladivostok.
The deal, announced by Admiral on Thursday, puts Volchenkov back on a team for the first time since suiting up with Nashville during the ’14-15 campaign. He appeared in 46 games for the Preds, recording seven assists.
Prior to his time in Nashville, Volchenkov in over 600 games with the Senators and Devils. He’d established a reputation as a physical, hard-hitting d-man, but struggled with injury and mobility in the later stages of his time in New Jersey, and was ultimately bought out of his contract.
The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Thursday night. You can catch tonight’s action via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Dallas at St. Louis (8:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Blues lead the series 2-1.
San Jose at Nashville (9:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on CNBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Sharks lead the series 2-1.
Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s games:
—Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty
—Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires
—Preds smash Sharks in Game 3 to get back in series
—Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1