Brayden McNabb has heard all about the Sabres’ rigorous Development Camp from his peers – but he may already possess what it takes to withstand the test.
As NHL scouts found earlier this year – and Buffalo coaches may discover this week – it takes a lot to tire the 6-foot-2 defenseman out.
The Sabres’ 2009 third-round draft pick ranked first out of more than 100 prospects in the Fatigue Index test during the NHL Combine this spring – an anaerobic exercise designed to measure each player’s maximum output and calculate how quickly they recover.
He is hoping the extra effort translates on the ice as he makes his debut at Niagara University with the rest of the Sabres’ prospects.
“I wasn’t really too surprised,” McNabb said of the results. “We’ve been training pretty hard this summer so it’s starting to pay off.”
McNabb has been taking swimming lessons in Saskatoon from a professional swim coach twice a week and even taking spinning classes to work on endurance.
“I definitely think I can log a lot of minutes, and I did in the second half of the season for [the WHL Kooteny Ice].”
McNabb finished the 2008-09 season leading Kootenay defensemen with 10 goals and was second in points with 36 through 67 games.
His next goal is to rank highly in the minds of the Buffalo coaching staff.
“I’ve heard a lot about this camp from the other guys and was told it was pretty tough and very demanding,” McNabb said following the first on-ice session at Dwyer Ice Arena on Monday. “They also said the coaches were going to take it a little easier on us this year… and that works for me.”
Buffalo’s first-round selection (13th overall) Zack Kassian did not participate in the first day of Development Camp due to a foot injury.
Several free-agent invites were present for the on-ice workouts, including:
Chris DeSousa, C, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL) Burke Gallimore, RW, Saskatoon Blades (WHL) Igor Gongalskyi, LW, Stockton Thunder (ECHL) Brady Irwin, C, Vermont (NCAA) Adam Payerl, C, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Chris Butler is the only member on the current Sabres’ roster to participate in the camp, but the defenseman thinks he still has something to prove.
“I can still learn a lot,” he said. “You get an opportunity to watch a lot of other teams’ video and pick and choose some of the things the other teams do, kind of dissect what makes them successful. I look at other defenseman like a guy like [Detroit’s] Niklas Kronwall. I really like the way he plays. He’s offensive, he plays well defensively, he hits like a freight train. That’s one of the guys I really try and watch and learn from… you don’t see that stuff when you turn on a TV back home.”