Alexander Nylander was not on the ice for the Buffalo Sabres as development camp opened in HarborCenter Wednesday afternoon.
The forward has had problems with injuries, including missing over a month at the start of last season with a lower body injury. So his absence was conspicuous.
But fear not. Nylander was still at development camp, taking part in off-ice conditioning and team meetings. He is one of five players – along with Marcus Davidsson, Cliff Pu, Maxwell Willman and Casey Fitzgerald – on the development camp roster who are not on the ice. Sabres assistant general manager Steve Greeley explained it was just precautionary.
"It's June. Not everyone is 100 percent," Greeley said. "Certainly nothing with any of these guys that we're terribly concerned with. At this time of year you want them healthy for September, you want them healthy for training camp. So everything at this point is just precautionary. All these guys are here, doing everything off the ice. We're just being cautious."
When asked specifically about Nylander, Greeley said, "He's here, he's doing all the off-ice workouts. You jump into a high pace in June or July, you're not at 100 percent, you're at 99.9 ... let's be careful with anyone we think might need an extra day or extra week."
Chris Taylor, the head coach of the Rochester Americans who is running development camp, said he has seen Nylander mature already, just in the way he has handled the start of camp as he enters his third pro season.
"I think he's actually stepping up at this camp right now and taking guys under his wing with all the Swedish players that we drafted," Taylor said. "He's being a mentor to those kids. That's a first-step right there; he's not worrying about himself. He's looking after these young guys coming in for the first time. You see him up there watching practice, some guys wouldn't even watch practice. He's sitting with the young guys at the tables when we're eating and stuff like that. It's good to see. That's maturity level and I can tell he really wants it. He's working hard. I can't wait for training camp for him."