Posted at: 07/10/2013 6:20 PM
By: Justin Granit
After another season without reaching the playoffs, the Sabres are rebuilding. The team is starting from the ground up. That means getting younger and making development camp a glimpse of the future.
The Buffalo Sabres were the 7th youngest team in the NHL last season and now after dismantling its veteran core, Buffalo's projected roster is expected to be the second youngest in the league with an average age of 26 and half years old. The guys are even younger at Wednesday's development camp and some could be the future core of the Sabres.
Rasmus Ristolainen made his professional debut as a 16-year-old in Finland, playing against guys twice his age. Now the 18-year-old defenseman skates on the First Niagara Center ice as the Sabres first pick in last week's draft.
Eight picks after Ristolainen, Buffalo selected another young defenseman, 18-year-old Nikita Zadorov. These two are not phased by their youth.
Both men are big burisers. Ristolainen is 6'4”, 207 pounds and Zadorov is 6'5” 250 pounds. If neither makes the Sabres roster, they will play overseas this coming season. For now, their working on getting to the next level.
Former first round pick Zemgus Girgensons enters his second year with the organziation. He shined with the Amerks down the stretch last season. The 19-year-old leading Rochester with three goals in the playoffs.
There are veterans at the development camp. Twenty-two year old Phil Varone registerd 24 points in Rochester last season and is in his final year of a three year contract with the Amerks, giving Varone once last chance to play in Buffalo.
The camp runs through Friday concluding with a Blue & Gold Scrimage.
The Amerks have resigned Frederick Roy and sign Mike Zigomanis and Alex Lepkowski..