Junior players are always hopeful of appearing in a preseason game. More often than not, they skate around during practice and watch the professionals play in the exhibitions.
Cliff Pu is an exception.
An impressive showing in the Sabres' Prospects Challenge earned him another chance to put on a Buffalo jersey. He'll play in the preseason opener Monday night when Carolina visits KeyBank Center.
"It's a huge honor to be able to get in an exhibition game," the 19-year-old said after the morning skate. "It's an exciting day for me. Hopefully, I can do well."
Pu had a goal and three assists during the Sabres' rookie tournament while centering the top line. He's scheduled to face the Hurricanes as the right winger for center Evan Rodrigues and left wing Seth Griffith.
"Over the last few weeks I've had a really good experience with the new staff, and it's been all positive so far," Pu said. "I'm trying not to be too nervous, go out there and play my game and try not to overthink it."
Sabres coach Phil Housley said young players can use the Prospects Challenge in two ways. They can excel and use it as a springboard, or they can save their energy for training camp.
"Clifford chose the first option where he earned a game," Housley said. "He's a terrific player, really smart. He's got a little edge to his game. He goes to the net hard. Just with the speed of the game, he's just got to maintain his speed and his decisions up ice, but I really liked what I saw in Prospects Challenge. I'm wishing him well."
Story topics: Cliff Pu