After four and a half months without hockey, the Buffalo Sabres officially welcomed Rookie Camp at HSBC Arena on Monday morning.
Two groups of prospects, totaling 37 players, took to the ice in separate sessions for coach evaluation as a prelude to Training Camp. The players will continue to try and impress over the next four days.
“It’s always good to see who has been working the hard and who has accomplished the most,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said following the team’s first session. “It’s good to see some of these kids from Development Camp in July coming back now and some of the progress they’ve made.”
Familiar faces, with the likes of Tyler Ennis
and Nathan Gerbe
were in attendance, as were some new names including netminder, and Buffalo native, David Leggio
– who signed his first contract with the organization in August.
“It’s definitely an exciting time in my life to just be here and involved in the camp,” Leggio said. “It’s a step in the right direction but my main goal is to put on the real [jersey] in a real game.”
Ruff said he relishes watching young players, such as Leggio, the first time they enter the NHL venue.
“I think it’s always an eye-opener when you get inside the arena,” he said. “Niagara University [and Development Camp] is one thing, but when you get here it feels like ‘I’ve got a chance to make it’ for most of these kids.”
Spots are open, but limited according to Ruff – who pointed at prior successes such as Tyler Ennis
and Tyler Myers
. Both players made an impact in camp last fall before getting their chance in the NHL.
“I think the jobs, for the most part when you look at a young group like this, are down the line usually,” he said. “There are examples of dropping in real quick, but they know they’ve got a certain amount of time to make it and they know what it’s going to take. Part of that is understanding of how we want to play. For the most part you look at players who have come through the system, that’s the hope.”
The rookie practices will continue over the next four days with a trio of scrimmages on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday begin at 9 a.m. A final rookie scrimmage will take place on Friday at 1 p.m. All sessionas are open to the public. The full camp gets underway on Saturday, September 18 with Puck Drop festivities when veterans report. Click here for more information.