The last time David Farrance had visited HarborCenter prior to the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month, he was playing U-16 hockey for the Syracuse Stars.
Since then, the defenseman's hockey journey had carried him to the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., and most recently to a gold medal at the U-18 World Junior Championship in Slovakia in April.
With a visit to Europe so near in his rearview mirror, it was lucky for Farrance that his trip to the combine didn't require significant travel. Farrance is a native of Victor, N.Y., a suburb located 19 miles south of Rochester. He grew up a Sabres fan idolizing Derek Roy, with whom he shared the No. 9.
So, in the minutes following his fitness testing, Farrance was able to utter words no other prospect could.
"It feels great to be home," he said.
Farrance is ranked 49th on NHL Central Scouting's list of North American-based prospects for the NHL Draft this weekend and could very well be the top local player selected. He's coming off a season in which he scored 37 points (7+30) in 64 games for the U.S. National U-18 Team. Next season, he'll begin his collegiate career at Boston University.
Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com pointed to Farrance as one of his sleepers to keep an eye on in the draft. "In the modern day NHL," Baker said, "you need defenseman who can move the puck. Farrance can do that among the best."
Video: Prospect Avenue: Kris Baker's Deeper Sleepers for '17
The one quality Farrance doesn't possess is immense size; he's listed at 5-feet-11-inches tall and 195 pounds. But he also recognizes that size isn't exactly a necessity to be a good defenseman in the modern NHL.
"The game these days is growing and I think it's important that there are offensive defensemen and good-skating defensemen, puck movers," he said.
"I've been able to deal with it fine," he later said in reference to his size. "It's no problem for me."
If he has it his way, he'll follow in the footsteps of another defenseman of similar height at the time of his being drafted in 2008.
"I think I would like to play like Erik Karlsson," Farrance said. "It's a bit of a stretch, but why not shoot for that?"