It was a big day at the First Niagara Center for the Buffalo Sabres and the city of Buffalo. The Sabres held their first day of prospect development camp at the FN center and it showcased the first time Jack Eichel wore the Sabres crest. Wearing #41, Eichel was the center of the spotlight as a pretty big crowd showed up to see the second overall pick have his first ever NHL practice. Sabrestop was live to catch the action. Here are my takeaways from the first day of camp.
Eichel may have the best shot on the Sabres- To start off the practice I noticed Eichel was a little bit nervous and was skating as such, but as the camp went on he got more and more comfortable with his skating and shooting. The more competitive drills such as the 2 on 2 segment really showed off Eichel's two way ability. Often he would sneak up behind the skater with the puck and make a steal. His Shot was the most impressive part of his game today. His accuracy is constantly on point and the snap he has on his wrist shots make them incredibly hard for opposing goaltenders to stop.
Jonas Johansson has come a long way in his development- The 19 year old goalie may be separating himself from the other young goalies as maybe the most promising. Linus Ullmark and Cal Petersen are seen as the two most likely prospects to eventually make the roster, however after seeing Johansson shut out Sam Reinhart and Hudson Fasching, I think the 6'4 Swedish goaltender could be in Buffalo sooner than later. His positioning was excellent and unless the offense were ripping shots from the point, there was no way they could get past Johansson's glove side.
Justin Bailey gets better every year- The hometown prospect continues to progress each year. Getting traded to the Grey Hounds was probably the best thing that could have happened to him. Bailey improved his defensive game and at the same time got stronger and used his large length to wreck havoc in front of the net. His long shot still needs some work and he had a hard time catching some faster passes but you can see the raw ability in Bailey. Playing for Rochester this season with Baptiste is going to do wonders for his development.
Sam Reinhart got bigger and is ready for the NHL- Besides Jake McCabe and Nick Baptiste, I thought Reinhart looked far superior to everyone on the ice, including Eichel. Last season Reinhart struggled in his 10 games with the Sabres. He was pushed off the puck constantly. He was simply too small. This year Reinhart looks bigger and faster. He didn't do a whole lot of drifting which he was prone to do last year. He was light on his feet and surprisingly quick. Outplaying Eichel and McDavid in the world juniors last year has seen to give him a lot of confidence. I don't think anything but playing for the Sabres is in the cards for Reinhart this season.
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Jack Eichel made his Buffalo Sabres debut at Mondays development camp at First Niagara Center