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by Derek Wangler / Buffalo Sabres
Nick Crawford (Photo: Michele Veluvolu)

For the first time in three professional seasons, Nick Crawford didn’t attend Buffalo Sabres training camp. But like many players affected by the lockout, the Rochester Americans defenseman is trying to treat this like just another year.

“I spent the last two years down here [in the AHL] so for me it’s kind of the same feeling,” said Crawford, who was selected by Buffalo in the sixth round (164th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. “Come into camp and see the same bunch of guys pretty much and kind of get the season started from there.”

Before turning pro, Crawford spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League where he built up quite the resume. In 2009-10, Crawford set career highs in goals (11), assists (59) and points (70). Crawford also recorded a staggering plus-51 that season, becoming the first blueliner in OHL history to lead all defensemen in both points and plus/minus.

Just 19 games into his last season in the OHL, Crawford was traded from the Saginaw Spirit to the Barrie Colts. With Barrie being just a 45-minute drive away from his hometown in Caledon, Ont., the move was easy for Crawford.

“I got to see my parents a lot more. I also knew a guy from Barrie so it was an easy transition for me, which I think helped me a lot,” said the 2009-10 OHL First Team All-Star.

When he gets some time to himself, Crawford likes to go to the movies and play Xbox with his roommate. “We don’t do too much exciting stuff outside of the rink, a lot of relaxing [and] resting up,” said Crawford.

The 22-year-old Crawford enters this season with 53 points (13+40) in 146 career AHL games with Rochester and Portland. Despite not playing in the team’s first two games of the season, Crawford is looking forward to showing off his skills for Buffalo fans when the Amerks host the Hamilton Bulldogs at First Niagara Center on Tuesday, October 23.

“That’ll be really exciting. Hopefully there will be a lot of fans there. I think a lot of the guys are looking forward to it,” said Crawford. “It’s definitely marked down on the calendar.”

Nick Crawford (Bill Wippert)

Born: February 23, 1990, Brampton, Ontario

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 191

Shoots: Left

Last Amateur Club: Barrie (OHL)

How Acquired: Selected by Buffalo in the sixth round (164th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

CAREER: 2011-12: Three-game point streak (2+1) from 3/17-3/23 • Season-high four-game point streak (1+3) from 1/14-1/21 • Logged 29:42 TOI vs. Oklahoma City (1/19) • Skated in his 100th pro game at Adirondack (12/10) • Three-game point streak (1+2) from 10/14-10/18 • Recorded an assist in his Amerks playoff debut in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at Toronto (4/19)… 2010-11: Made professional debut vs. Manchester (10/9) • Scored first career AHL goal vs. Charlotte (10/11) • Registered first career multi-point game (1+1) at Worcester (12/5) • Logged a four-game point streak (1+3) from 2/26-3/6 • Recorded first AHL playoff point (assist) in Game 1 vs. Connecticut (4/14)… 2009-10: Selected to OHL First All-Star team • Led OHL defensemen in scoring with 70 points (59+11) • Finished second in voting for OHL Defenseman of the Year • Traded to Barrie Colts after 49 games with Saginaw Spirit • Scored four points (1+3) in first game with Barrie vs. Sudbury (11/12) • Named OHL Defenseman of the Month (November) after recording 15 points (2+13) and a league-high plus-13 rating in 11 games • Set career highs in goals (11), assists (59) and points (70).

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