Sabres GM Tim Murray has dangled a tasty carrot for eighth overall draft pick Alexander Nylander. If the 18-year-old puts in the work over the summer, he might be able to earn a spot in the NHL next season.
Per the Buffalo News, Nylander could play in the NHL, the AHL, Europe, or be returned to his junior team in Mississauga.
“If you ask me, ‘Could I see him going back to junior?’ I guess there’s a scenario,” Murray told reporters Tuesday. “If you ask me, ‘Could I see him playing wing with [Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart]?’ I think there’s a scenario. … He’s just high-end talent, high-end skill. He’s going to be a real good NHL player. It’s a matter of time.”
Nylander had 75 points in 57 games for the Steelheads last season. For that, he was named the OHL’s rookie of year. He thinks he can make the jump to the Sabres right away, and promises he’s “going to do everything it takes in the summer to get ready for it.”
Just don’t expect him to be gifted a roster spot. The Sabres have much higher expectations heading into 2016-17. They can’t afford to have youngsters who aren’t ready.
“We think we’re stronger. We’re deeper,” head coach Dan Bylsma told NHL.com recently. “If you’re looking at expectations from within, we should be above 95 points at the end of the season. It took 95 points to get into the playoffs in the East last season.”
In the wake of one of most controversial trades in franchise history, the owner of the Montreal Canadiens is standing behind his general manager.
“Marc Bergevin, he works to make our team better, and I think all of the work he has done this spring to improve our team has been 100 percent supported by me,” Geoff Molson said yesterday, per NHL.com. “And that’s what I pay him for, is to make our team better, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the evolved team on the ice and I think our fans are going to really appreciate the improvements.”
Molson was, of course, talking about the P.K. Subban for Shea Weber trade with Nashville. The move has not been particularly well-received by the fan base, but the Habs have insisted that they’re better today with Weber.
“He’s won two Olympic gold medals and he’s a guy who, like Carey Price, has a presence that right away brings credibility to your team,” Bergevin told NHL.com. “He’ll be a great complement to our captain, Max Pacioretty, and to our leadership group. Shea’s a big man and he’s hard to play against. If you’re lined up against Shea Weber, nothing’s going to come easy. To me, that’s something that we missed last season.”
Bergevin had better hope he’s right about that. Because if he’s wrong, it’s going to be very tough for the fans to forgive him, and for the owner to keep supporting him.
Related: In talking about Weber, Bergevin said plenty about Subban
Travis Green felt he was ready to be a head coach in the NHL, and he came very close to landing the job in Anaheim.
But the Ducks decided instead to bring back Randy Carlyle, so Green will be headed back to Utica for a fourth straight season to coach the Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Comets.
“I think it came right down to the wire,” Green told The Province newspaper. “They had to make a tough decision and they went with a guy who has had success in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup (Anaheim, 2007). He’s a very good coach and I have a lot of respect for a lot of coaches, and you hope one day that you find a fit.”
Green is only 45 years old, so he’s got time to be patient. But he’s only got a year left on his contract with the Canucks, and that will only lead to more speculation about his future. Expect his name to be front and center next offseason should any NHL jobs become available. It might even happen sooner, depending what happens this year in Vancouver.
“Timing is everything. It’s not a sprint for me,” Green said. “There’s a reason I went to junior (Portland) for five years and a reason I went to the AHL and have stayed on as a head coach. I talk about the process a lot and I preach it.”
After being hit into the boards during a scrimmage, defenseman Michael Campoli had to be stretchered off the ice this morning at Sabres development camp, according to the Buffalo News.
The Sabres wished Campoli well via Twitter, and he was apparently talking and smiling. There’s been no official update on his condition, but one is expected later in the day.
An undrafted 18-year-old who’s committed to play for Boston College next season, Campoli reportedly “went to the ice, tried to get up, but immediately went back down” after being hit. He reportedly stayed motionless on the ice for about 20 minutes while medical personnel and the Buffalo Fire Department worked to stabilize his neck. He was then taken to hospital in an ambulance.
There’s never been any question about his talent. But when Josh Ho-Sang slept in and was late for the first day of New York Islanders training camp, it sure brought up the many, many questions about his attitude.
The Isles sent him back to junior and told him to “grow up”.
Embarrassed by the demotion, he proceeded to lead the Niagara IceDogs in scoring. His 82 points were 23 more than the next highest total on the team. He added 26 more points in 17 playoff games.
The Isles were pleased with what they saw.
“He’s focused in,” the club’s director of player development, Eric Cairns, told NHL.com. “He took some steps this year towards being a more reliable guy off the ice, as well as on the ice. He’s a mature guy, but he also needs to keep on learning the steps to do the right things at all time, which is normal for a lot of different young men. It’s not the first time anything like that has happened, it’s not going to be the last. But he seems to be in as good a place as I’ve ever seen him.”
H0-Sang will turn pro next season, likely starting in the AHL with Bridgeport. He still thinks about what happened at camp, but he’s looking forward to showing the Isles he’s serious about his career.
“I know I still have a lot to prove to the NHL guys,” he said. “I want them to respect me and know that I’m not there to waste their time.”