The best hockey prospects in the country will be on full display tonight at the KeyBank Center. The All-American Prospects Game, which first came to the city in 2012, is back for a fourth time.
Here are the five things you need to know before heading down to the arena for tonight's action.
1. The game boasts a strong alumni group
The All-American Prospects Game has featured some big names in the past, with the most relevant to Buffalo obviously being Jack Eichel. The now-Sabre played in the 2014 showcase in the city he'd soon call home. Eichel earned MVP honors by scoring the game-winning goal and an assist to lift Team Grier over Team Olcyzk.
Previous games have included players like 2017 Sabres draft pick Casey Mittelstadt, Sabres forward Hudson Fasching, Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin and Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanafin.
2. Some of the players are first-round talents
There isn't an obvious top-two player in this year's game as there have been in the past, but the game does boast arguably the top two players in college hockey, Quinton Hughes and Brady Tkachuk. Both are playing for Team Leetch.
Hughes, a 17-year-old defenseman, scored 10 goals and 53 points in 65 games for the U.S. Development Program. He'll play for Michigan this winter.
Tkachuk, son of former-NHLer Keith Tkachuk and brother of Calgary's Matthew, is the top American forward in next year's class. He played with Hughes while with the USNDP, scoring 25 goals and 54 points in 61 games. He also played with the U.S. squad in the USHL, where he was nearly a point-per-game player. Unlike his brother, who opted to go the CHL route, Brady is going to Boston University.
Left wing Joel Farabee, right wing Oliver Wahlstrom, right wing Bode Wilde and left wing Mattias Samuelsson are other names to keep an eye on.
3. The biggest names are behind the benches.
While the players on the ice could be stars someday, the two men behind the benches already are. Leading the two teams are a pair of American hockey legends, former defensemen Chris Chelios and Brian Leetch. Although the pair both said they didn't feel any pressure in their morning press conference, there will be a a wager on the line.
"We haven't set one yet," Chelios said. "We haven't talked a number, but they'll be one."
4. The top prospects are coming from around the country.
There are obviously plenty of players on the rosters from hockey hotbeds like Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and New England. Yet, as we've seen with Arizona-native Auston Matthews, hockey's footprint continues to grow. Hughes, the top defenseman, is from Orlando, Florida. There are two players from California, Slava Demin and Adam Samuelsson, and one each from Arizona, North Carolina and Texas.
5. You can still make it in the door.
Tickets for the game, which starts at 7 p.m., are 10 dollars and general admission.
Story topics: All American Prospects Game