19-year old winger Alexander Nylander may get his shot in Buffalo this season, according to Ian McLaren of the Score, who spoke with Nylander’s Swedish coach. Nylander was selected 8th overall in last year’s draft, and had a strong season in the AHL with Rochester. He saw action in 4 games for the Sabres, but tallied only one assist. He theoretically has the option to return to the Swedish Hockey League, for AIK, but there has been no indication he will do so. Nylander will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to crack the roster, however. The Sabres filled out their forward depth relatively well this off-season, adding Jason Pominville (right-winger) via trade and Jacob Josefson (right-winger) via free agency. He could likely find a home on the fourth-line, but he would likely benefit from more seasoning if he can’t force a decision outright. His older brother, William Nylander, did need parts of two seasons with the Marlies before he stuck with the Leafs. Alex Nylander’s dynamic offensive skillset is badly needed in Buffalo this season, however, especially when one considers the lean defense they will be trotting out.
- When Flames’ goalie Jon Gillies was signed to a two-way contract a few weeks ago, many wondered how much that would impact the team’s future plans in net. Gillies had a solid win in his first NHL start last season, but struggled slightly in Stockton. The 6’6 goalie is a third-round pick from 2012, but was solid in Providence and has shown flashes of brilliance at only 23. Gillies will need to string together a solid performance at the AHL level and hope for either Mike Smith or Eddie Lack to falter or fall to injury, as the two acquisitions by GM Brad Treliving put him in an unenviable position. The possibility of a goaltending carousel in Calgary seems more possible than many are willing to admit, especially if Gillies or Tyler Parsons push the issue from the minors with stellar performance. This will only be Gillies’ second pro season, after all, and he has the talent to make things interesting.
- With the certainty of NHL non-participation in the 2018 Olympics, it opens quite a few doors for players who have left the league for Europe or elsewhere. “Busts” and “has-beens” could make up a large portion of the U.S. and Canadian rosters, it seems. Today in Sochi, numerous ex-NHLers displayed their skills in hopes of impressing those who will choose the 2018 Olympic roster. A miniature tournament is essentially the beginning of the audition to be considered for the selection process. Canada faced off against Russia, and the teams will have friendly contests against one another later in August. According to Tim Wharnsby of CBS Sports, some of those hopefuls for Canada include Max Talbot, Gilbert Brule, and Rob Klinkhammer. Talbot was a gritty winger who clutched two goals against Detroit in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals for Pittsburgh. Brule is a former top pick of CBJ who floated from team to team without much success, and Klinkhammer was a fringe bottom-sixer who never truly found a home. Many players of this ilk could claim roster spots, and fans of the sport may have some names from the past resurface to prominence as we approach Pyeongchang.