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Sharpen Up: July 1, 2018

What you need to know before free agency opens up

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Happy Canada Day. Happy Free Agency Day. The floodgates open at noon so let's take a look at what might happen around the league. We also have some development camp highlights for you.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

Who's signing?

NHL.com has done a great job compiling all of the latest news and reports so for league-wide stuff, be sure to keep a tab in your browser open to their free agent tracker. 

It seems like everyone and their cousin is waiting for the John Tavares shoe to drop. He didn't re-sign with the Islanders before the clock struck midnight so where he's going as of now is anyone's guess. He's apparently pretty tight-lipped about his decision.  

As for the Sabres, we'll see what general manager Jason Botterill does, whether it's some signings or possibly even some trades. Last year, Botterill used July 1 to mainly fill out the Rochester Americans' roster with quality veterans that helped lead the team to their first playoff appearance since 2014.

Linus Ullmark is currently the only Sabres netminder under contract with NHL experience (Adam Wilcox, who played in one game for Buffalo last year and served primarily as the Amerks backup, signed an AHL deal with Rochester last week). So a goalie or two signing is possible. NHL.com lists Buffalo as a possible destination for free agent netminders Carter Hutton, Jonathan Bernier and Peter Mrazek. 

We'll have updates for you throughout the day.


A look back at development camp

Thanks to everyone who came out to Harborcenter yesterday to check out the French Connection Tournament and those who tuned in to the live stream here on Sabres.com. If you didn't see what happened (or want to catch out these sick Casey Mittelstadt and Victor Olofsson goals again), we have highlights right here:

Video: 2018 French Connection Tournament Highlights


If you're feeling ambitious and want to watch the entire tournament over with commentary from Rick Jeanneret, Rob Ray and Brian Duff, click here

Mittelstadt, Lawrence Pilut, Miska Kukkonen, Eric Cornel, Ivan Chukarov, Joe Snively, Andrew Peski, Brett Murray and goaltender Jonas Johansson made up Team Martin and won the tournament after finishing with just one win after three games of round-robin play. Mittelstadt, Cornel and Murray were also on last year's winning squad.

Here's the written tournament recap, which also touched on the feud that developed between Mittelstadt and 2018 fourth-rounder Matej Pekar, who models his game after Brad Marchand. 

"I like his game, yeah," Pekar said. "I know a lot of people don't like him. But it's my game. I'm not the super-skilled guy that just can dangle all five guys and score a goal. In order to create some offense, I need to play like Brad."

And here's some more postgame recation:

Video: Casey Mittelstadt after 3-on-3 tournament

Video: Matej Pekar after 3-on-3 tournament

Video: Greeley sums up development camp

Video: Housley talks about development camp

 Video: Randy Sexton after development camp

 
Daily dose of Dahlin

Video: Rasmus Dahlin after 3-on-3 tournament

Upon arriving in Buffalo for development camp earlier this week, Rasmus Dahlin said the first item on his agenda when he returns to Sweden would be meeting with his friends and enjoying their company. Who could blame him? With all the hype he's dealt with over the past month, he deserves a break. 

Dahlin is still looking forward to getting back home, but hearing him speak at the conclusion of camp on Saturday made it sound as if he's already itching to get back to Buffalo. The defenseman called it the best trip of his life, thanks in no small a part to the people who were here to welcome him.

Fans packed Harborcenter for each on-ice session, where they reacted to Dahlin's every move. Many were already wearing his No. 26 jersey, an aspect of the week he was still trying to wrap his head around as he prepared to leave for Sweden.

"I'm just super impressed that they even know who I am," Dahlin said. "I know they love hockey. I will try to win hockey games, so you can give back to them. That's what I can do."

As impressed as Dahlin was by his new home, the mark he left over the four days of camp was equally inspiring. On the ice, the defenseman was every bit the competitor he was chalked up to be, willing to embarrass opposing skaters be it with open-ice hits or silky moves around the net. 

"He literally floats around out there," said forward Casey Mittelstadt, a prospect who exhibits his own jaw-dropping skills. "It doesn't look like he's trying at all and he's gliding by guys. It was pretty cool."

You can read more on that here.
 

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