SABRES PROSPECTS REPORT
The Prospects Report is back, and Gustav Possler is already making his mark
Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) hustled his way to success Thursday, notching a hard-working assist and then intercepting a pass for a short-handed goal as MODO dropped a 3-2 shootout decision at Leksands IF. The 18-year old winger kept the momentum going Saturday, snatching a rebound off a breakaway for his second goal in as many games as MODO again lost in the shootout 4-3 to Lulea HF.
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Through the season’s first four games, Possler leads MODO with three points (2+1), 11 shots on goal, and six blocks, all while averaging just 14:24 of work per outing. His play continues to conjure up images of former Sabres captain Jason Pominville, a trait that should bode well for him later this winter when Sweden builds their roster for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
As good as Possler was for MODO, teammate Linus Ullmark (2012, sixth round) may have been his equal in net.
Ullmark made his first regular season start of the year Tuesday, making 30 saves and assisting on an empty-net goal to earn player of the game honors as MODO downed AIK 3-1. Ullmark again got the nod on Thursday, turning away 41 shots in regulation and overtime in the shootout loss at Leksands. It wasn’t the number of saves that was impressive as much as it was quality, with the bulky backstop confidently using aggressive angles and a quick glove to thwart several point-blank opportunities.
Justin Bailey (2013, second round) scored on the power play Friday as Kitchener kicked off the 2013-14 campaign with a 4-2 doubling of Saginaw. Bailey, whose all-around effort was rewarded with the game’s number two star, could find himself having a new linemate moving forward with Radek Faksa being returned to the Rangers over the weekend from his NHL stay in Dallas.
It took Nick Baptiste (2013, third round) just 4:01 into the season’s first game to get the lamp lit, but Sudbury surrendered six goals in the middle frame Saturday to suffer a 10-3 blowout loss at Sault Ste. Marie. A season ago, Baptiste went 10 games without a goal before getting his first of the year.
On Friday, Brady Austin (2012, seventh round) went deep into the zone for a wraparound goal and added an assist as Belleville lost at Ottawa 5-4. The defender earned another point the following night when his point-shot from the left side was tipped for the Bulls’ only goal in a 4-1 loss to North Bay.
Justin Kea (2012, third round) picked up one assist as Saginaw opened the season with a pair of road losses at Barrie and Kitchener. Through two games, the 6-foot-4 centerman has been featured on a line with 2013 NHL draft picks Jimmy Lodge (WPG) and Nick Moutrey (CBJ).
In Friday action, Logan Nelson (2012, fifth round) notched a career-high four assists as Victoria kicked off the year with a 4-2 win over rival Vancouver. The four-point night, which earned him the game’s number two star, was the first for Nelson since joining the Royals back in 2011-12.
Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) stopped 26 of 28 shots Saturday as Waterloo opened the 2013-14 schedule with a 3-2 victory at Chicago. Buffalo Regals product Patrick Polino beat Petersen for the first Steel tally, but the Notre Dame commit stopped the final 10 shots he faced, and shut door late with Chicago using the extra attacker.
Also from Saturday, Connor Hurley (2013, second round) notched two assists and a shootout goal to help Muskegon to a 5-4 victory at Green Bay. The win was a big one for the Lumberjacks, who walked away from the Gamblers rink with two points for the first time in franchise history.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s web site - sabresprospects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @sabresprospects for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.