Wednesday, 05.2.2012 / 3:34 PM ET
The postseason rolls on for three Sabres prospects, as each of their teams have advanced to their respective league championships in the Canadian Hockey League. Mark Pysyk (Edmonton, WHL) and Steven Shipley (Niagara, OHL) will start their series on Thursday, while Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (Rimouski, QMJHL) will have to wait until Friday to play Game One. The champions from the OHL, WHL and QMJHL will then advance to the 2012 Memorial Cup in Shawinigan, Quebec, from May 18-27.
Catch up with each of the three players below, along with links to follow their live game action.
Drafted: 2010, 1st round (20th overall)
Contract Status: Signed 3-year entry level contract (June 2, 2011)
Pysyk has seven points (2+5) in 13 games, as the red-hot Oil Kings have only lost one game in the playoffs. Edmonton had won 22 straight games (last 11 regular season, first 11 playoffs) before being handed a 5-1 loss to Moose Jaw in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final. Pysyk has used his puck-moving skills to front a stellar-defensive corps that has given up just 22 goals in 13 games – including two shutouts and seven other games when they have allowed just one goal.
Pysyk had 38 points (6+32) and 83 PIMs in 57 games this season, and also won a bronze medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.
UP NEXT: Edmonton will host Portland at Rexall Place in the first two games of their best-of-seven Ed Chynoweth Cup Final. Game One is Thursday at 9 p.m. ET (Click here to listen live)
Drafted: 2010, 3rd round (68th overall)
Contract Status: Signed 3-year entry level contract (December 30, 2011)
Gauthier-Leduc heads into the final with 15 points (8+7) in 17 games, after being held pointless in two of Rimouski’s last three games. His eight goals are the most among all CHL defensemen in the playoffs, and he needs just two points to surpass Halifax’s Konrad Abeltshauser as the QMJHL’s top scoring blueliner in the postseason. The 19-year-old led all Canadian Hockey League defensemen in goals (28) this season, and his 74 points in 62 games were tied with Spokane’s Brenden Kichton for the most among all CHL defensemen.
UP NEXT: Rimouski opens up their best-of-seven President Cup Final series on Friday in Saint John against the top-ranked Sea Dogs at 7 p.m. ET. (Click here to listen live)
Drafted: 2010, 4th round (98th overall)
Contract Status: Unsigned
Shipley has seven points (5+2) in 15 games for the IceDogs, contributing most of his ice time as a checking center. All five of his goals came in three consecutive games during the first round against Oshawa. Shipley is coming off the second 20-goal season of his junior career, recording 22 goals and 49 points in 63 games played.
UP NEXT: Niagara travels to London for Game One of the best-of-seven OHL Championship Series on Thursday, with Game Two at the Gatorade Garden City Complex in St. Catharines on Friday. Both games start at 7 p.m. (Click here to listen live).
Josh Gabriel (6’, 185 lbs., 2/13/1996) continued a successful offseason for the Buffalo Junior Sabres program, as he was selected in the second round of yesterday’s United States Hockey League (USHL) Draft by the Tri City Storm. The Lancaster, NY-native had 54 points (30+24) in 61 games this season for the 16U Jr. Sabres. Gabriel joins two other 16U Jr. Sabres that were picked in the Ontario Hockey League Draft on April 7. Defenseman Frank Hora (6’, 164, 6/1/1996) was drafted in the eighth round (147th overall) by Kitchener, while right winger Brendan Dunning (7/19/1996) was taken by Niagara in the 10th round (199th overall.)