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Pekar, Mittelstadt among standouts at French Connection Tournament

Olofsson shows off shot; Guhle wins leadership award

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Matej Pekar said earlier this month that as recently as last September, the idea of being drafted into the NHL seemed like a pipe dream. It makes sense, then, that the fourth-round pick had it in his mind to do anything he could to stick out at his first development camp in Buffalo. 

That included getting under the skin of the most talented players on the ice, which in this case included Rasmus Dahlin and Casey Mittelstadt. That strategy put Pekar in the spotlight on Friday, when Dahlin flattened him with an open-ice hit that would spend the next 24 hours making rounds on social media.

"Even Czech national TV was posting it, so it was kind of funny," Pekar said.

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On and off the ice, Dahlin inspired at development camp

Top draft pick turned heads during week in Buffalo

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

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.

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In his own words: Fitzgerald on the importance of development camp

Boston College co-captain says off-ice lessons are as important as on-ice sessions

by Casey Fitzgerald @CaseyFitz97 / Special to

Defensive prospect Casey Fitzgerald (2016, third round) shares what his week has been like during Sabres development camp presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York with

Hands down, the biggest honor of my career was being selected as captain at Boston College last season. I was one of two captains for our team along with Chris Brown, who's also here at development camp with the Sabres.

Our team had no senior class, so Chris and I were named captains as juniors. I was honored because it's not just coaches who select the captain, it's not just the staff. It's the players. Whoever the players feel is the captain, that's who's going to be captain. That also means it's a major responsibility. 

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Luukkonen, Sabres weighing options for next season

Dahlin delivers big hit; Glotov visits New Era Field

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, the towering goaltender selected by the Sabres in the second round of last year's NHL Draft. Luukkonen signed his entry-level contract with Buffalo on June 14, and on Thursday he was selected by Sudbury with the third pick in the CHL Import Draft. 

Needless to say, Luukkonen has options for next season. He could return to Finland, where he played professionally last season. Or he could head to Sudbury and kick-start his adjustment to the North American game.

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In his own words: Oglevie's path to joining the Sabres organization

Andrew Oglevie shares his story with

by Andrew Oglevie @AOglevie / Special to

Andrew Oglevie, who signed with the Sabres as a college free agent in April, shares how he started in hockey and his journey to Buffalo while attending his first development camp presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York.

I was four years old the first time I stepped into a pair of skates, and I still remember it to this day. My mom had a birthday party for me at Disney Ice, a skating complex near my hometown of Fullerton, California. It was a typical kids party, an hour-long whip-around with a cake waiting upstairs.

The reason I remember the day so vividly is because I got stuck with a pair of figure skates that day, and I hated it. I loved skating right away, but the figure skates were so flimsy. I was watching other kids blow by me, doing hockey stops and that sort of thing. Now that is what I wanted to be doing. 

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Relationships have Hickey excited about trade to Sabres

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Brandon Hickey has until Aug. 15 to decide whether he wants to sign with the Buffalo Sabres. The relationships he's already formed within the organization certainly won't hurt their odds. 

Hickey, 22, was acquired via trade with the Arizona Coyotes on June 14 following a four-year career at Boston University. Some of the firsts texts he received were from Evan Rodrigues, Jack Eichel and Danny O'Regan, who together comprised the Terriers' top line during the 2014-15 season.

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Dahlin already impressing coaches, teammates at development camp

Top pick of 2018 practiced for the 1st time as a Buffalo Sabre

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Victor Olofsson still remembers the precise moment he became aware of Rasmus Dahlin. The latter had just joined Frölunda of the Swedish Hockey League, a 16-year-old practicing amongst men. Olofsson was in the midst of his third full SHL season.

In his initial practice with the team, Dahlin carried the puck near the blue line and Olofsson went to defend him. Dahlin pulled the puck between Olofsson's legs, then drove to the net and scored.

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Taylor sees signs of culture change at Day 1 of development camp

Mittelstadt shows growth; Nylander's absence precautionary

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Chris Taylor remembers having to halt practice on the opening day of development camp last summer, his first year at the helm of on-ice sessions. The prospects were nervous to the point where they were trying too hard, which he felt led to mistakes. He estimated five such stoppages between two sessions that day.

Taylor was happy to report that there were no such problems when this year's camp opened at Harborcenter on Wednesday.

"I didn't have to stop it this time around," Taylor said. "That shows you the leadership, because we always practice what we're going to do drill-wise. The attention to detail that they watched and how much they wanted to learn, that they're ready in the corners, ready to go.

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In his own words: Luce proud to follow in his grandfather's footsteps

Griffin Luce shares his Development Camp experience

by Griffin Luce @BuffaloSabres / Special to

Griffin Luce, the grandson of Buffalo Sabres Hall of Famer Don Luce, shares what it's like to be invited to Sabres Development Camp presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and to be raised in a family with deep hockey roots.

Growing up around the organization, the Buffalo Sabres were the team I watched the most throughout my childhood. Every kid has that dream of playing in the NHL and putting on an NHL jersey. For it to be a Sabres jersey and wear it here for the first time at Development Camp was a really special moment. 

This is such a great organization that my grandfather was able to be a part of. It's cool being able to wear the same jersey as my grandpa because he made a name for himself here.

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