Hudson Fasching knows he uses the word “whirlwind” too much, but what else is there to describe an NHL debut, college graduation and world championship appearance in a six-week span?
“It’s the word I keep using, but it’s a perfect word for it,” said the Buffalo Sabres prospect. “So many things were spinning around me. There were a lot of different things happening. It was really exciting and really fun, but it was nice to get a break after.”
Fasching unwound in Denmark, Belgium and Paris in May. The 20-year-old traded his skates for a guidebook and lived the relaxing life as a tourist for a week. After that, it was back to hockey.
It’s clear to Dan Lambert that Fasching’s laid-back days didn’t last long.
“Hudson looks like he’s in better shape today than a few months ago,” Lambert, the Rochester coach and former Sabres assistant, said in HarborCenter. “He certainly looks like he’s leaned out, and playing those few weeks in the NHL he probably understood that he needed to be quicker, so to me he looks great.
“He looks like a guy who isn’t far away from pushing for an NHL job.”
So far, all Fasching knows as a professional is the NHL. He left the University of Minnesota in March to join the Sabres, and he recorded a goal and assist in seven games. Buffalo promised him an immediate NHL spot if he left school, but that guarantee is no longer valid. The right winger will have to excel during training camp or head to Rochester next season to hone his skills.
Before he gets to training camp, he’s working at the Sabres’ development camp.
“This time around at camp, it’s time for me to show I can take the next step and kind of take over a little bit and take that next step as a player,” he said, “just be better, be more in control of the play, in control of the puck and just show that I’ve gotten better.”
His confidence is high after representing the United States at the world championships in Russia. He had two assists in 10 games while skating 10:02 per night. Fasching was overmatched at the start, finishing minus-3 in just 7:51 of ice time against Canada, but by the time the Americans advanced to their bronze-medal loss to Russia, the coaches trusted him to play 15:20.
“Going to worlds also helped out my confidence a bit playing against professional players,” he said. “You just feel good about your game.”
It’s hard to gauge at development camp how much Fasching has improved simply because he’s so much bigger and stronger than most of the players. He stands out at 6-foot-2, 216 pounds.
“I was looking at the rosters and some of the birth years, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m old this year,’” he said with a laugh. “It’s definitely different.”
The age group may be different, but he’s pleased to have a Sabres logo on his chest again.
“It’s always good to feel comfortable where you are,” Fasching said. “Being able to have a couple games under my belt definitely makes me feel confident in my game.”