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Sharpen Up: June 26, 2017

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

The Draft is over, but the offseason has only just begun.  

We begin this Sharpen Up accordingly, then, with some breaking news. The Sabres have named Randy Sexton and Steve Greeley as the team's assistant general managers. Sexton will also serve as general manager for the Rochester Americans. 

Mark Jakubowski, who has served as the assistant general manager since 2014-15, has been named vice president of hockey administration. 

Sexton has spent the last seven seasons as the director of amateur scouting for the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he worked with Sabres general manager Jason Botterill toward two Stanley Cup titles. Greeley has spent the last two seasons as assistant director of player personnel for the New York Rangers.

"Randy and I developed a positive working relationship during our time in Pittsburgh and I think his experience and insight will be advantageous for our front office," Botterill said in a press release. "In Steve, we have hired a talented hockey executive who will offer unique insight to our organization. They both have experience at all levels of the game and we think they will be valuable assets for the Buffalo Sabres moving forward."

 

Free agency is right around the corner …

Here we are less than 48 hours removed from Day 2 of the Draft at United Center, and we're already in the period in which teams are able to speak with unrestricted free agents. That, and the deadline for teams to place qualifying offers on restricted free agents is this evening at 5 p.m. 

The following Sabres are RFAs this offseason: forwards Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson and Evan Rodrigues, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and goaltender Robin Lehner. The list also includes Brady Austin, Jean Dupuy and Justin Kea. 

After using this week to meet with UFAs, teams can officially sign free agents beginning at 12 p.m. on Saturday. 

Speaking at the conclusion of the Draft this past weekend, here's what Botterill had to say about free agency:

"We're still addressing a lot of different positions in our organization," he said. "We want to bring more depth obviously, and whether that's through free agency or through trades we'll continue to look at different things. I think it's just in general, free agency in the last five, six years, it's become more difficult to find high-end players. Teams are signing their players younger and players aren't getting to free agency.

"I don't think there's as much of that sort of a "big bang" [free agent] on July 1, but you can find some good value and good depth."

That doesn't mean the Sabres can't make a splash in a trade, but Botterill also made it clear that he won't mortgage the organization's future for quick fix:

"I think if you ever get in a rush, that's when you make mistakes," he said. "The bottom line is you do have to be patient, but I know Phil Housley's competitive. I know myself, [I'm] competitive. We want to be competitive, we want to make changes, we want to be more successful right off the bat here. 

"So it's a scenario where you're trying to balance things out. Your trying to make the improvements, you're trying to bring people and players in who are going to help our organization right away. But you always have to have a little bit of a look at a long term. We can't be sacrificing young players. We can't be sacrificing draft picks for a short-term fix."

You can watch Botterill's full comments from Saturday below:

 Video: Jason Botterill after the 2017 NHL Draft

 

The Hall of Fame's Class of 2017 will be announced today

Might this be the day that either Dave Andreychuk or Alexander Mogilny gets the call? The two former Sabres are both eligible once again, along with a list of first-year eligibles highlighted by former Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson and former Ducks forward Teemu Selanne.

The Hall of Fame will announce its Class of 2017 at 3 p.m. 

Andreychuk, who last played during the 2005-06 season, ranks 14th in NHL history with 640 career goals, 368 of which he scored during his 11 seasons in Buffalo. He also holds the NHL record for power-play goals with 274. 

Mogilny was a pioneer in the League after defecting from the Soviet Union, and is considered the NHL's first Russian superstar. He scored 1,032 points (473+559) in 16 NHL seasons, and his 76 goals in 1992-93 remains a Sabres franchise record.

Former Sabres Martin Biron and Miroslav Satan, meanwhile, will appear on the ballot for the first time. You can find a comprehensive list of eligible players here.

 

 

Development camp has been announced

Your first chance to see the newest Sabres prospects will be at the team's annual summer development camp, which is slated to begin on Saturday, July 8 and run through Tuesday, July 11. All on-ice sessions will be held at HarborCenter and are open to the public.

Here's the full schedule:
Sat., July 8: 2 to 3:30 p.m. and 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Sun., July 9: 10 to 11:15 a.m. and 2 to 3:15 p.m.
Mon., July 10: 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. and1:45 to 3:00 p.m.
Tue., July 11: French Connection Tournament: 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

 

Looking back at the Draft

If you were busy this past weekend and need to get caught up on the Buffalo's Draft class, look no further. Our Draft Central is the place to find analysis, reaction and more on all of the Sabres' picks.

Here's a few links that will get you caught up.

We followed Casey Mittlestadt, who you can read about here, following his selection in the first round. Watch the video below.

Video: Casey Mittelstadt Behind The Scenes

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, a goalie selected by the Sabres in the second round, was the only draftee in the building for Buffalo on Day 2. You can read more about him here, and watch his full comments on coming to Buffalo below. 

Video: Meet Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

A complete breakdown of all the players Buffalo drafted on Day 2 can be found here.

 

Sharpen Up will return next Monday, two days into free agency. We'll likely have a lot to discuss. 

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