You can now mark your calendars: The first glimpse of Jack Eichel in game-type action with the Buffalo Sabres will come on Friday, July 10 during the team’s annual development camp.
The team announced an expanded camp schedule Thursday, stretching from July 6-12 in First Niagara Center. The highlight will be a Blue & Gold scrimmage on July 10 at 7 p.m. Interest in the scrimmage is expected to be huge because of the presence of Eichel, the team’s presumptive No. 1 pick next week, so there will be tickets sold for the first time.
Tickets will be $10 and go on sale June 26 at the arena box office and Sabres.com. There will be an exclusive presale for season ticket holders beginning June 22.
All sessions during the week will be open to the public, with the schedule expected to be finalized by the end of this month. The camp will conclude with a three-on-three tournament on July 12. The camp is slated to feature around 40 of the team’s prospects, including all of their 2015 picks.
Eichel was one of 39 invitees to the United States National Junior Evaluation Camp, slated for Aug. 1-8 in Lake Placid. USA Hockey announced the list for the team Thursday, and the camp will help determine the bulk of the roster for the U.S. team at the World Junior Championships that open Dec. 26 in Helsinki, Finland.
Eichel, the captain of last year’s U.S. entry that played in Montreal, is one of 18 draft-eligible players on the list. It also includes a pair of potential top-10 defensemen in Boston College’s Noah Hanifin and Michigan’s Zachary Werenski. Center Auston Matthews of Scottsdale, Ariz., projected as the top pick for the 2016 draft in Buffalo, is also being invited. So is Detroit prospect Dominic Turgeon, a second-round pick of the Red Wings last year who is the son of former Sabres center Pierre Turgeon.
Games and practices against Finland and Sweden will be held at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena. Team USA will be coached by longtime NHL coach Ron Wilson and one of his assistants will be longtime NHL defenseman Chris Chelios.
New Sabres coach Dan Bylsma has announced two veteran additions to his coaching staff with the signing of Terry Murray and Dave Barr as assistants. Murray, 64, is the uncle of Sabres General Manager Tim Murray and has spent the last three years as Philadelphia’s coach in the AHL, most recently for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, Pa.
Terry Murray, expected in many quarters to become an assistant with the Flyers under new coach Dave Hakstol, has 499 NHL wins in 1,012 games as a head coach for Washington, Philadelphia, Florida and Los Angeles.
He directed the Flyers to the Stanley Cup final in 1997, beating the Sabres in the second round before getting swept by Detroit in the final. He was fired in Los Angeles 29 games into the 2011-12 season, and the Kings rebounded to win the Cup under new coach Darryl Sutter.
Barr, 54, played 13 seasons with seven NHL teams and was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils last season after previously serving in Colorado and Minnesota. He was general manager of the Guelph Storm when they won the Ontario Hockey League title in 2004, and was the OHL coach of the year there in 2005-06.
“There’s a ton of experience in both guys,” Bylsma said. “Terry has been a head coach in this league, he’s been an assistant coach in this league, a head coach in the American League level. He’s coached with and under some other great head coaches and other great systems organizations and bringing that to our team. It’s going to be a huge part of our development for our players, especially our defensemen.
“Dave Barr is an experienced player in the league. A longtime coach now for guys I know, with Todd Richards in Minnesota and Tony Granato in Colorado. He’s a guy that will bring a lot to our team in the special teams areas.”
Bylsma said he is still working on the rest of his staff, including whether to retain under-contract goaltending coach Arturs Irbe.
Tim Murray said restricted free agent forwards Johan Larsson, Phil Varone, Tim Schaller and Jerry D’Amigo will all receive qualifying offers. Forwards Kevin Sundher and Zac Dalpe will not.
Murray said the Sabres are still pondering what to do with goalie Nathan Lieuwen, defenseman Jerome Leduc and forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas, and are undecided yet on unrestricted free agent goalie Matt Hackett.
The Arizona Coyotes have hired ex-Sabres head coach Ron Rolston to be the bench boss of their American Hockey League team in Springfield.
Rolston, who served as a scout for the Coyotes last season, went 19-26-6 during his 51-game stint behind the Buffalo bench as he replaced longtime coach Lindy Ruff after 17 games during the 2012-13 season. The start of that campaign, remember, was delayed by a lockout. Rolston finished the season 15-11-5.
But with the Sabres in clear rebuilding mode in 2013-14, Rolston went 4-15-1 before being relieved of his duties Nov. 13, 2013.
Rolston coached two seasons in the AHL with Rochester before replacing Ruff, posting 79-55-18 mark.