Just standing next to Casey Mittelstadt, one can tell there's a difference.
The forward is bigger than when we last saw him in Buffalo, making his NHL debut in the final six games of the Sabres' disastrous 2017-18 season.
That's not a surprise since the weight room is where Mittelstadt's focus has been after a whirlwind season that included the Men's World Juniors, playing for the University at Minnesota, and turning pro.
"I've definitely been working on training, that's the most important," Mittelstadt said in his second development camp in HarborCenter. "Get in the weight room, stuff like that. Get to July, I'll start ramping up the skating a lot more. Definitely working on my shot."
Mittelstadt, the Sabres first-round draft choice in 2017 and eighth pick overall, has been working with the second group of players at this year's development camp. Rasmus Dahlin, the Sabres and NHL's top draft pick in 2018, is in the first group.
That means all goalies are having a hard time stopping the puck as both highly skilled players have been dazzling the fans who have come to the open practices.
Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor, who worked with Mittelstadt at last year's development camp, sees the difference in the forward this year.
"You can just tell by his body and his maturity level and the way he composes himself," Taylor said. "Every time he came down, it was easy for him. You can tell the guys that have been here two or three years and guys that are going to be at that next level quickly because they receive passes, they take passes, the passes are always on the tape. Their shots are different. How they skate, how they handle themselves, their body movements. Those guys are top first-round picks and there's a reason for it."
Mittelstadt is relaxed, enjoying this time with the other youngsters in the Sabres system. He has high expectations for himself, but nothing that's too tangibly specific.
"I don't put numbers on paper and want to get these numbers," Mittelstadt said. "I want to come and prove I can play and make plays at the highest level."
Oglevie finds new favorite team in the Sabres
Andrew Oglevie grew up a New York Rangers fan on the wrong side of the country. It was something passed down to the Fullerton, Calif., native, as his mother, Maury, grew up just north of the city in Bedford.
“She put me on skates when I was about 4,” Oglevie said. “They gave me those figure skates though, and I didn’t like that. I asked for hockey skates and she got me them for Christmas that year.”
The 23-year-old center spurned his previous allegiances when it came time to jump to the professional level last spring. Oglevie signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Sabres in April, forgoing his senior season at Notre Dame.
So why Buffalo?
“It’s a great city,” Oglevie said. “They had a great opportunity here. Talking with the staff about that, I think they had a really good idea of who I am as a player.”
Oglevie played in 107 games for the Golden Domers over his three-year career, totaling 41 goals and 48 assists. He’s one of nine Sabres prospects with collegiate experience participating in this week’s development camp.
“The college game is bigger, older, faster,” Oglevie said. “Having that experience is obviously a huge step toward making that next step to professional hockey. That definitely helps me.”
What’s in a name?
Information can be sparse when you get into the later rounds of the NHL Draft. One of the Sabres’ two fourth-round picks, Linus Cronholm, took that to the extreme. There wasn’t even a consensus on how to spell his last name.
He’s listed as Linus Cronholm by the Sabres and multiple Swedish outlets, but most scouting reports have him down as Linus Kronholm. The 17-year-old Swedish defenseman wasn’t at the draft to clear up the confusion but thankfully put an end to the mystery Thursday morning.
“It’s a C,” Cronholm said. “My family spells it with a C. The government does it with a K. We are going to change it.”
Friday is the last chance for those without season tickets to catch the Sabres prospects at HarborCenter. Session one runs from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m., while session two runs from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. They are free and open to the public.