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Sharpen Up: June 24, 2019

Here's what you need to know on the Monday after the 2019 NHL Draft

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Buffalo Sabres added six players to the organization over the weekend thanks to the 2019 NHL Draft. 

On Friday, they picked center Dylan Cozens seventh overall and defenseman Ryan Johnson 31st.

On Saturday, they moved around a few of their selections and walked away with goaltender Erik Portillo in the third round, right wing Aaron Huglen in the fourth round, left wing Filip Cederqvist in the fifth round and right wing Lukas Rousek in the fifth round.

We have more on each prospect in today's Sharpen Up.

The prospects will be in town this week for development camp presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. On-ice sessions begin on Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Harborcenter (those are free and open to the public). 

Here's what you need to know.


Draft recap

Video: Behind the Scenes: Round 1 of the 2019 NHL Draft

For general manager Jason Botterill's and director of amateur scouting Ryan Jankowski's takes on each pick, check out this article.

Video: 2019 NHL Draft Round 1 Recap

Video: Jason Botterill after Round 1

Video: 2019 NHL Draft: Day 2 Recap 

Video: Jason Botterill after the 2019 NHL Draft 

Video: Ryan Jankowski after 2019 NHL Draft

Here's a sampling, focusing on Cozens, the 6-foot-3, 183-pound center from the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL.The full story can be found here.

"He's going to be a good centerman in the NHL," Jankowski said. "This organization now, with Jack and Casey and Dylan, it gives us great options. So, we think that he's a guy who's going to be able to produce some offense while playing a well-rounded, 200-foot game with good size. 

"He still has the frame to fill out, still a little bit immature physically. Which is great, it shows there's a little bit of upside there and it gives us good depth at the center position." 

Brian Duff caught up with Cozens and Johnson for a little 10 Questions to try and get to know them better:

Video: 10 Questions with Dylan Cozens

Video: 10 Questions with Ryan Johnson

Cozens became the first player from the Yukon to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft. We spoke with his family about what that means for the Canadian territory here.

Video: Sue Bogle reflects on how Cozens learned to skate

Dylan is aware his journey is only now just beginning. His father expects him to treat Buffalo with the same level of dedication he feels toward the Yukon.

"I think he's a good, character person," he said. "I think he accepts responsibility. I think he knows his obligation to his teammates. I think he knows his obligation to the people and the fanbase that support him. We always stressed accountability with him. 

"If you've been given an opportunities, if you've got talent, gifted or worked towards, you have a responsibility to use that wisely and not to be selfish with it. I think you'll find that he's a good person that way. He understands what he needs to do, and I think he'll work hard to really try and do it."

On the second day of the draft, Buffalo rounded out the Class of 2019 with four picks.

Patterns emerged along the way, as the Sabres opted to select players who they view as late bloomers with high long-term potential. 

"It's a huge balance, taking a player who can play in two years versus taking a player who's going to be even better in seven years," Jankowski said. "That's a very different way of looking at things. From my standpoint, it's about keeping our guys focused on the player, what he's going to be at the height of his career."

Development camp opens this week

The team's annual summer development camp, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York will run from June 26 to 29. 

The camp will feature current Sabres prospects, including players selected at the 2019 NHL Draft. Attendees will take part in both on-ice and off-ice workouts. All on-ice sessions will be held at Harborcenter.

On-ice sessions from June 26 to 28 are free and open to the public. Admittance will be on a first-come, first-served basis and not guaranteed. 

The French Connection Tournament, an intra-squad 3-on-3 tournament, will highlight the final day of camp on Saturday, June 29, beginning at 10:45 a.m. The tournament will be a ticketed event. Tickets will be made available exclusively for 2019-20 season ticket holders. Tickets will be free and limited to two per account. Season ticket holders for the 2019-20 season will receive an email on Monday, June 24 to claim their tickets. Tickets will be limited and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The French Connection Tournament will be streamed live on and the team's official social media platforms.

The goals of the camp are to introduce prospective players to professional work habits and organizational standards. The players will have an opportunity to become familiar with the team and the resources available to them through the Sabres development staff and performance team.

The full schedule of on-ice workouts open to the public at Harborcenter is below. All times are subject to change and any updates will be posted at

Wednesday, June 26
• First Session: 1 to 2 p.m.
• Second Session: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, June 27
• First Session: 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.
• Second Session: 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Friday, June 28
• First Session: 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.
• Second Session: 12 to 1 p.m.

Saturday, June 29
• French Connection Tournament: 10:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Home opener set 

We'll see you on Oct. 5 for a game against the Devils. The Sabres will open the season in Pittsburgh on Oct. 3. The full schedule will be released on Tuesday at noon.

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