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Bryson, Fitzgerald named to Hobey Baker Award ballot

Also: Murray's point streak extends to 14 games

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Two Sabres prospects are on the initial ballot for the Hobey Baker Award.

Defensemen Jacob Bryson of Providence and Casey Fitzgerald of Boston College are among 83 collegiate players that fans can vote for through March 10. Cast your vote and check out the full list here.

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Laaksonen talks winning gold at World Juniors

Sabres.com's weekly Prospects Update

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Oskari Laaksonen has ascended from relative unknown to World Juniors gold medalist in little more than a year and a half. 

The Finnish defenseman wasn't listed in NHL Central Scouting's prospects rankings leading up to his draft year in 2017, nor was he invited to the Scouting Combine. Even he couldn't believe it when the Sabres selected him in the third round that year. 

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World Juniors begin on Wednesday as 4 prospects vie for roster spots

Sabres.com's Prospects Update

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship begins on Wednesday in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. 

Four Buffalo Sabres prospects are vying to make their respective teams as final cut downs approach: goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (second round, 2018) and defenseman Oskari Laaksonen (third round, 2017) for Team Finland, forward Matej Pekar (fourth round, 2018) for the Czech Republic, and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson (second round, 2018) for Team USA.

Finals rosters are expected to be announced early next week.

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Brown, Fitzgerald hoping to lead Boston College back to Frozen Four

Co-captains looking to end collegiate careers on high note

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

It's an old trope in sports: When you reach the top of the mountain early, getting there can seem easy. Christopher Brown and Casey Fitzgerald were no exception.

Brown (sixth round, 2014) and Fitzgerald (third round, 2016) made it to the Frozen Four as freshmen at Boston College in 2016, falling by one goal to Quinnipiac in the semifinal round. They left that game with big plans for the remainder of their college career.

"I was young, naïve at the time," Fitzgerald said by phone on Thursday. "You look at it and think, We can do this every year. We're going to go back and we're going to win it next year, we're going to win three national championships in a row.

"That's what the thought process was. You don't realize how hard it really is to get there."

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Four Sabres prospects named to World Junior camp rosters

Sabres.com's weekly Prospects Update

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

It's that time of year again. 

Preliminary rosters are being announced for the 2019 World Junior Championship in British Columbia, and four Sabres prospects have already been invited to camp with their respective countries. 

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Bryson shouldering more responsibility at Providence

Sabres.com's weekly Prospects Update

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Jacob Bryson has his sights set on Buffalo, in more ways than one.

Long-term, the Buffalo Sabres' fourth-round pick in 2017 projects to be a promising prospect on the backend. In the short term, the junior defenseman at Providence College believes his team can win a national championship at the Frozen Four in Buffalo this spring. 

The Friars came within a game of reaching the semifinal round last season, falling 2-1 in a quarterfinal matchup with Notre Dame. Bryson remembers the scene in the dressing room afterward.

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Glotov, Cyclones contributing to overall organizational success

Sabres.com's weekly Prospects Update

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Take a look at the NHL standings today and you'll see the Buffalo Sabres near the top of the list. You'll also see their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, in first place in the North Division. And in the ECHL, the Cincinnati Cyclones sit atop the Western Conference.

The Cyclones, in their second year as the Sabres' ECHL affiliate, are 9-2-0 in their past 11 games and have outscored the opposition 49-23 over that stretch. They're currently second in the league with 24 points (11-3-2).

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Murray headlines noteworthy performances by Sabres prospects

Catch up on how players in the system are performing

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Brett Murray showed off his scoring touch last week, posting three goals in a pair of games for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. Murray, a fourth-round pick of the Sabres in 2016, scored twice on five shots Saturday (including the game-winner) in Youngstown's 4-3 win over Muskegon. 

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Samuelsson receiving great support while adjusting to college game

Western Michigan freshman defender has 3 points in 8 games

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The last time Mattias Samuelsson and his brother Lukas played on a team together, Samuelsson was a freshman at Northwood School in Lake Placid. Now, five years later, they're back together at Western Michigan University, where Samuelsson is in his freshman season with the Broncos. 

The 2018 second-round pick (32nd overall) is learning as much as he can from his older brother and enjoying the time they share both on and off the ice. As a freshman, Samuelsson has to live in the dorms, but it's only a two-minute drive to his brother's apartment. He says he's there "all the time."

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Weissbach becoming a student of the game at Wisconsin

2017 7th-round pick is developing an all-around game as a sophomore

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

It's not uncommon for Tony Granato to show up to work and be asked to go over a play from an NHL game. The University of Wisconsin coach might be asked if he saw a play made by Johnny Gaudreau the night prior, or if he can pull up a clip from the Chicago Blackhawks game. 

The one doing the asking is Linus Weissbach, a sophomore forward for the Badgers and Buffalo's seventh-round pick in 2017. 

"What I've really enjoyed watching is the amount of time he watches hockey when he's away from the rink," Granato said over the phone Tuesday. "He comes in in the morning and he's telling me, 'Hey, did you see last night's game? Did you see Gaudreau's goal?'

"He is one of those kids that it's 24-hours-a-day hockey. That's him."

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