The Buffalo Sabres preseason is underway and the regular season is just one week away. Heading into this year it’s playoffs or bust for most fans, but is the roster talented enough for the Sabres to end its five year playoff drought?
As the regular season draws near, 7ABC will take a closer look at the training camp roster and put together our list of the “Top 20 Talents.”
Here’s the criteria on how the rankings will be established:
-Overall skill level
-Age, improving/declining ability
On to the countdown:
No. 10 C/LW – Alex Nylander
Why he’s here
When the Buffalo Sabres drafted Alexander Nylander in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft someone behind me at the then First Niagara Center yelled out “Jack, meet your new winger!” When the pick was announced a lot of people probably thought that exact same thing — but be patient.
There’s no denying that Nylander has tons of potential and talent but it’s important to remember Nylander is still only 18-years-old. Since he’s started skating with teammates this offseason he’s continuously showed improvement. During the Sabres Prospects Challenge last month, Nylander, at times, looked out of place — especially in his own end. As the tournament continued, Nylander started getting more ice time and looked more comfortable. The same can be said about training camp and the preseason. Early on, Nylander had some problems, but had a very nice game against his brother, Willie, and the Toronto Maple Leafs in St. Catherines. Nylander once again looked solid playing on the Sabres top line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart against the Hurricanes on Tuesday. Where Nylander ends up this year is still an unknown, but if he continues to make strides defensively and get stronger, Nylander should be a big piece in the organization moving forward.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) September 24, 2016
I think Nylander will end up in Rochester this season. Over the summer he signed an entry-level contract with the Sabres but is eligible to play in the American Hockey League (AHL) because he was technically on loan to Mississauga (CHL) last season. I think Toronto has handled Alex’s brother Willie very well, and he’s become quite the hockey player. If the Sabres do something similar with Alex, he might just end up on a line with Jack Eichel.