The Sabres return to KeyBank Center for their second straight preseason game as they host the Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Unlike the Penguins on Friday, the Blue Jackets will be icing a handful of faces we can expect to see in the NHL moving forward.
In the spots unoccupied by NHL veterans like Gustav Nyquist, Jakub Voracek or Zach Werenski, the Blue Jackets carry high-end youth with first-rounders Liam Foudy (2018 18th overall), Yegor Chinkhov (2020 21st overall) and Cole Sillinger (2021 12th overall).
The Sabres will have a youth injection of their own with JJ Peterka returning to the lineup and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen between the pipes.
Players to Watch
Vinnie Hinostroza (BUF) – Hinostroza is a player who has stood out all training camp, bringing established speed and NHL ability to a young Sabres lineup. With the bleakness at wing outside of Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson, look for Hinostroza to get a good crack at a top 6 spot this season.
Jacob Bryson (BUF) – Bryson is competing for a playing time on a crowded Sabres blue line with the likes of Robert Hagg and Mark Pysyk. Enjoying a solid preseason thus far, Bryson gets another opportunity to make his case at the big roster.
Cole Sillinger (CBJ) – While Owen Power is busy chucking dimes at Yost Ice Arena, Columbus continues to get a look at their 2021 first round pick in Cole Sillinger. The crafty center was among two first rounders made by Columbus this past season, also selecting Owen Power’s teammate in Kent Johnson. Sillinger has a quick, explosive wrist shot and is strong down the middle with his low center of gravity and smooth hands. He’ll be a fun young-gun to track in this game.
Patrik Laine (CBJ) – The most notable name in Columbus’ lineup will be Patrik Laine. While he hasn’t found his groove in Columbus, his wrist shot is a threat on any night. Expect him to get a lot of looks in preseason action.
Luuk what we have here
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will once again play the entire matchup according to head coach Don Granato.
UPL had a very strong first period in Detroit before the Wings came out hot with five goals and an empty netter.
Monitoring the goaltenders’ play in the preseason, one would imagine that Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski are the favorites to open the season as the Sabres starting tandem. Dell has struggled, but certainly still has a shot at backing up Anderson. If Luukkonen can open some eyes against Pittsburgh, maybe he gets one last chance to impress the staff on Saturday.
Tage Thompson at Center
Sabres twitter collectively spit out their coffee this morning when the lines at morning skate revealed Tage Thompson listed as the fourth line center.
Granato clarified this is simply Thompson filling in for Arttu Ruotsalainen who wasn’t feeling well at practice.
Puck drop is at 7!