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by Joe Ray / Buffalo Sabres

Development camp invitee Drake Caggiula talks about his experience this week with the Sabres.

The 20-year-old wing (5-foot-10, 176 pounds) scored twice in the Blue & White Scrimmage on Tuesday and will play at North Dakota in the fall for his junior season.

(Photo Credit: Bill Wippert)

Camp is tough, but it’s a lot of fun. Coming in here, I didn’t really know anybody or anything like that. Nerves are high as it’s my first camp. I have a few expectations for myself and so far I’ve met them. Overall, I’ve had a great time.

My linemates Tim Schaller and Kevin Sundher were good all game Tuesday. The pace of the scrimmage was very fast. It started off real high, but it’s summertime so the pace kind of slowed down a bit. Guys started making mistakes and that’s when the goals started to happen.

My goal is always to be the hardest working guy on the ice. I’m not the biggest guy by all means and with my size, I always say I have to work harder out there.

Because I didn’t get drafted, it adds a little more fuel to the fire as motivation for myself. I kind of use it to prove people wrong, like, ‘Well, maybe you should have drafted me.’ At this point, it’s over and free agent life isn’t too bad. And here I am at a development camp anyway. It all works out. I’ve just got to keep working hard to get better.

Being small, you’ve got to be strong and you’ve got to be heavy on the puck and all that. Going to college, that definitely gives me a little extra time to develop physically. Being a free agent right now and being a little bit smaller gives me more time to develop and set me up for a bit of a different future.

My freshman year was kind of up-and-down, and I thought last year – my sophomore year – I kind of stepped it up and became a lot more consistent. Obviously I want to do a little bit better than that this coming year and step into a big leadership role there, whether it’s with a letter or not.

I just have to be a leader on and off the ice and contribute to my team in all sorts of ways.

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