CARRIER READY TO MAKE A NOTICEABLE IMPACT
|(Photo Credit: Bill Wippert)|
It takes a lot of big-name players and valuable assets to make a blockbuster trade.
When the Buffalo Sabres traded Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues last season, a lot of focus was put on the first-round pick the Sabres acquired in 2015, the conditional pick that became a third-rounder in 2016, wing Chris Stewart and goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
One piece of the trade that might have easily fallen under the radar was the prospect Buffalo also received in the deal, forward William Carrier.
“He was a first-round touted kid that missed half the season with an ankle injury. He’s got size. He’s got skill,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said at the time of the trade. “He’s got stuff that we have to help him with and that’s another part of it. We’re going to try to really buckle down here with our development program and help young guys get better. He’s just that – he’s a prospect.”
Sabres fans got their first live look at the 19-year-old wing last week during the team’s development camp at First Niagara Center.
Carrier, who now checks in at 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds, finished that injury-shortened draft season with 16 goals and 42 points in 34 games with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was selected in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Blues (57th overall) and then went on to sign a three-year entry level contract later that summer.
Last season, Carrier recorded 22 goals and 65 points in 66 games with Cape Breton and then Drummondville. Then he moved again when St. Louis and Buffalo came to an agreement on the evening of Feb. 28.
“I wasn’t really surprised with the trade,” he said. “I just didn’t think the trade would be that big. ”
Carrier said that the Sabres had scouted him a few times during the season and he talked with them a few times before the 2013 Draft, so he was already pretty familiar with some members of the organization.
However, he missed the end of last season with an ankle injury and was unable to join the Rochester Americans for their playoff run. He'll likely be with the Amerks in the fall.
“I was close to getting there,” he said. “I was going to show up for the second series.”
With his size and skill level, Carrier likes to see that teams around the League are attempting to model their lineups after that of the Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings.
“It seems like all the teams in the NHL are looking for big power forwards now. I’m happy with that,” he said.
He also thinks he's capable of filiing any role asked of him.
"If I get some checks, score some goals, I can play anywhere," Carrier said.
During the Blue & White Scrimmage last week, he did some things on the ice that impressed Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy.
“I thought early in the game, he was feeling himself out. He made a great power move to the net, put another one off the crossbar. He fended a defender off with his body,” Cassidy said. “That’s what we expected to get as a player.
“We need to see a lot of more of that obviously, but initially, there’s a good frame there and he’s a big kid. He’s already a pretty heavy kid. He can play heavy and I think he’s going to continue to grow that frame and be a physical presence for us and a guy that can contribute offensively.”
The biggest things Carrier said he would like to work on are using his size more and adjusting to the speed of the professional ranks.
“The game is pretty physical,” he said. “It’s a lot more than where I played last year.”