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Sabres Notebook: Mittelstadt's team wins 3-on-3, Housley talks coaching staff, Stephens sits & more

Sabres 2017 first-round pick Casey Mittelstadt helped his white team take home the French Connection Cup with a 3-1 win over the gold team Tuesday at HarborCenter on the last day of Sabres development camp.

The white team went undefeated on the morning, winning all three of its round-robin games and both of its playoff games. In the semifinals, 2014 second-round pick Eric Cornel and undrafted 21-year-old Erik Autio scored the goals in a 2-0 white win. In the final, Hudson Fasching, Mittelstadt and Cornel found the net to take home the title.

Here are some other tidbits from the last day of development camp on Tuesday.

Other results from round-robin play

After round-robin play, Mittelstadt's white team was 3-0, 2016 first-round pick Alex Nylander's gray team was 2-1, 2015 second-round pick Brendan Guhle's gold team was 1-1-1 and 2016 third-round pick Cliff Pu's blue team was 0-1-2. White beat blue in the first semifinal, 2-0, and gold beat gray in the second semifinal, 1-0.

Three standouts

  • Mittelstadt - the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft lived up to the hype, showcasing his dazzling handles and finding the back of the net several times in his first development camp.

Casey Mittelstadt lives up to hype at first Sabres development camp

  • Rasmus Asplund - the 2016 second-round pick shined Tuesday, his morning highlighted by a buzzer-beating, game-winning goal in round-robin play. Asplund beat goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and hit the post but corralled the puck and tucked it inside the right post for the win.

  • Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen - Save for the final seconds of the semifinals and the entire consolation game, the 2017 second-round pick was a stalwart for the most part in net. He impressed in his first development camp, more so than any of the other three netminders, before he heads back to play this coming season in his home country of Finland.

Phil Housley talks coaching staff

Last Wednesday the Sabres hired Payne as their associate coach after he spent five seasons as an assistant for the Kings, including a Stanley Cup title with Los Angeles in 2014. Payne worked mainly with the forwards in L.A., which should complement Housley's defensive mindset well. In the 2010-11 season, Payne posted a 38-33-11 record in his only full season as head coach of the St. Louis Blues after going 23-15-4 on an interim basis in 2009-10. He was fired after a 6-7 start in 2011-12.

"I think it helps," Housley said of Payne's head-coaching experience. "Davis, his resume speaks for itself. You know, been eight years in the NHL. Before that, coaching for 15 or so years and to win a Stanley Cup ... if you know him, he's a great human, he's got a great family and he brings a lot to the table, which I really enjoy, just having his company this week and getting to know him better ... He's been here the last four, five days and right away I think we have a unique chemistry."

The Sabres also retained Andrew Allen, Buffalo's goalies coach, for a third season. The Sabres' goalies have combined for a .920 save percentage under Allen over two seasons.

"I think he just impressed me when we talked to him, very personable guy," Housley said. "He understands the game as far as a goaltender point of view. Has a good relationship with all our goalies so it was important that we had a guy that had those relationships."

The Sabres still need to fill one coaching spot, and here's what Housley said about that:

"It's been a process with that because we're trying to do a thorough search for really good candidates and there's a lot of really good coaches out there," he said. "But you wanna just make sure you do the right thing and look at everybody. We still have the coach that we're looking at and trying to fill that position."

Devante Stephens sits out 3-on-3 tournament with injury

Stephens, a fifth-round pick in 2015 who signed an entry-level contract in April, sustained an apparent left shoulder injury Monday after Hudson Fasching slammed him into the boards during a cross-rink, 3-on-3 drill. Rochester Amerks head coach Chris Taylor said Monday afternoon that Stephens was OK, but the 20-year-old sat out Tuesday's 3-on-3 action. Following the tournament, Botterill said he doesn't think the injury will need surgery and that he doesn't believe Stephens dislocated the shoulder.

"You're always worried when a guy goes in awkwardly like that," Botterill said. "It's a situation where he'll have to do some rehab, but he should be fine for training camp."

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