TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN – Forward Nick Baptiste did not make the trip to Traverse City and will miss the 2014 NHL Prospects Tournament for the Buffalo Sabres. He sustained an injury during the Sudbury Wolves’ preseason game on Sept 5.
Last season, Baptiste, a third-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, recorded 46 goals and 94 points in 70 games (regular season and playoffs). He signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Buffalo in May and has a good shot at representing Team Canada at the World Junior Championship this winter.
Baptiste led the Sabres in scoring during last year’s Traverse City tournament so other players in the lineup will have to step up and produce offense. Specifically, Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy – who is leading the Sabres prospects from behind the bench – is looking to Justin Bailey and Eric Cornel.
“A guy like Eric Cornel, hopefully he can have the same kind of tournament that Nick had last year for us, coming in here and being a producer right away and helping us put some points up on the board,” Cassidy said. “Those two guys are going to be counted on a lot for offense to fill that void.”
Cornel will center a line with fellow 2014 second-round picks Brendan Lemieux and Vaclav Karabacek. Bailey is slated to play right wing on the second line with William Carrier and center Daniel Catenacci.
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The Sabres take on the Carolina Hurricanes in their first game of the 2014 NHL Prospect Tournament at 4 p.m. The game can be heard live on ESPN 1520. Stay tuned to Sabres.com for postgame reaction and analysis.