Getting drafted by the hometown team was one thing. Pulling on a Sabres jersey figures to be quite another for Austin Osmanski on Saturday night.
“I can’t wait till later,” he said after Buffalo’s morning skate. “I don’t know what’s going to happen seeing ‘Osmanski, 51’ on the back of a real jersey. It’s going to be pretty crazy.”
The East Aurora native and seventh-round selection in June’s draft will be on the ice at 7 p.m. when the Sabres’ prospects face their counterparts from the New Jersey Devils in HarborCenter. It’s the start of a three-game, round-robin tournament that also features prospects from the Boston Bruins.
“I’ve been here once before at development camp, and this is just another step,” Osmanski said. “Obviously, there’s less guys, and in a tournament format you’re all a team now where development camp you’re two teams. We’re all working together to beat New Jersey and Boston, and hopefully that happens.”
The defenseman is slated to skate on the blue line alongside Brycen Martin, a third-round pick from 2014. The other defense pairs will be Brady Austin with Brendan Guhle, and Devante Stephens with Vojtech Budik.
All seven of Buffalo’s defensemen, including likely scratch Paul Geiger, are left-handed shots. It’s forced Osmanski to make adjustments.
“We’ve had to practice both sides, practice shooting from the right side, which I haven’t done really ever,” he said. “It’s going to be different, for sure.”
What’s also been different is life as a member of the Sabres’ organization. Ever since Buffalo selected the 6-foot-4, 202-pounder from Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League, Osmanski has been walking through a new world.
“Right after the draft, it was a completely different lifestyle,” he said. “You see people that you know and people that you don’t know, and they know you. It’s kind of died down now being back in Mississauga. It’s a normal-person status and stuff like that.”
The Sabres’ forward lines against the Devils will be Cliff Pu in the middle of left wing Eric Cornel and right wing Hudson Fasching, Giorgio Estephan centering for Alexander Nylander and Evan Rodrigues, Jean Dupuy in the middle of Vaclav Karabacek and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda, and Vasily Glotov centering for Brandon Hagel and Nicholas Baptiste.
Alexander Nylander wants to play in Buffalo. His journey to the Sabres starts this weekend in prospect tournament. https://t.co/8mpqEKAe5l
— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) September 16, 2016
Williamsville native Justin Bailey will sit out with fellow forwards William Carrier and Matthew Lane. They will play Monday when the Sabres host Boston at 7 p.m. Tickets for all games are $10.
Linus Ullmark will play for the Sabres prospects tonight. Wrote about goalie the other day ... https://t.co/5CFwwUvXPR
— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) September 17, 2016