As we head deeper into the summer and with many of the bigger name free agents off the board, teams now are focused primarily on locking up any unsigned RFAs they may have. Additionally, many clubs are kicking off their annual prospect development camps which gives us a look at the next wave of NHL talent and a sneak peek at a handful of youngsters who may have a chance to impact their parent club’s fortunes as soon as this season. Along those lines, here’s the latest out of the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.
- Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News describes the show Sabres’ 2016 first-round pick Alexander Nylander is putting on at the club’s development camp. Nylander, the brother of Toronto Maple Leaf forward William Nylander, was chosen 8th overall in the 2016 entry draft out of Mississauga of the OHL. However, as Harrington notes, unlike most players selected out of the CHL, Nylander is eligible to join the Sabres AHL affiliate in Rochester as opposed to returning to his junior team should he not crack the Buffalo roster out of training camp. This is due to the fact he was not selected in the CHL import draft and was loaned by his Swedish club to Mississauga.
- Harrington’s colleague at The Buffalo News, Jack Goods, writes about Nylander’s World Junior’s linemate, Rasmus Asplund, who was Buffalo’s second-round choice in the 2016 entry draft. Asplund’s development was accelerated by playing against men in the SHL the last couple of years. Like Nylander, Buffalo will have the option of playing him down in Rochester but Asplund himself has said another year in Sweden may be best for his development.
- In a piece for the Ottawa Citizen, Ken Warren looks at the RFA case for D Cody Ceci and opines that recent deals suggest the 22-year-old blueliner is in line for a big payday; particularly if the Senators want him around long term. Teams have been paying big for quality defensemen, both on the UFA market and when retaining their own players, and Ceci certainly should land a sizable deal this summer.
- CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty lists a few of the prospects at development camp who are expected to challenge for regular roles for the Boston Bruins in 2016-2017. Specifically, with the team in need of blueline depth, Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk, will be given a chance to make the team out of training camp. Up front, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen, are mentioned as “dark horses,” in the push for a roster spot.
- Writing for Bleacher Report, Lyle Richardson lists the 10 worst contracts for the upcoming season. The Atlantic Division placed four players on the list, the largest representation of any of the NHL’s four divisions. F Matt Moulson of the Sabres ranks 10th on Richardson’s list, with G Jimmy Howard (6th) of Detroit and F Ryan Callahan (4th) of Tampa Bay also making the cut. While I think his inclusion on this list might be a tad unfair as he’s still a quality goaltender, the emergence of Petr Mrazek between the Motown pipes has turned Howard into an expensive back-up and the Wings could look to move him ahead of next year’s expansion draft. Topping the list is Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who has five years remaining on a deal that comes with an AAV of $7MM.