Andrey Makarov enters his third Buffalo Sabres Development Camp at First Niagara Center as the most experienced goaltender in attendance. To separate himself from a crowded field, he’s going to keep it pretty simple.
“Play my game and do my job,” he said. “That’s it.”
Makarov is one of six goaltenders at this week’s Development Camp but is the only one currently under contract. He signed his deal as an undrafted free agent in September 2012.
He was on the ice for the first time Wednesday, taking part in the early goings of each practice session. With a new coaching staff in place, he’s trying to leave a good impression both on and off the ice.
“[I have to] be good outside the rink – show up on time and don’t be late. Show that I want to be here and work hard in practice and after the practice,” he said.
Of the seven goaltenders that played for the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League last season, Makarov saw the most action. He went 16-18-3 with a .905 save percentage, a 2.91 goals-against average and three shutouts in 39 games.
However, the highlight of his season came when he finally got a taste of NHL action.
He had previously served as a backup in seven NHL regular-season games, but never touched the ice.
On April 4 against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, he made his first career start. Although the result was a 3-0 loss, he believes he showed he’s capable of making it in the NHL.
“My confidence is going up right now,” he said. “I feel like I can play at that level and I’m just working hard right now and preparing.”
After that game, he said he was as calm as he usually is before a start. Recollecting those memories a few months later,
“It was special – it was my first game in the NHL – but why would you be nervous?” he said.
While he’s still settling into this year’s camp, his wardrobe game is on point (even if he thought Marlon Brando was James Dean).
His goal for the rest of the summer is to keep working out and be healthy heading into September’s training camp. Having the chance to make the Sabres out of camp is what he’s most excited for.
“I can’t wait,” he said.
The Sabres prospects will hit the ice starting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday for on-ice testing. Stay locked in to Sabres.com for complete coverage of Development Camp, including Friday’s Blue & Gold Scrimmage and Sunday’s 3-on-3 tournament.