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Sabres Notebook

Tage Thompson among four players with NHL time at Sabres' camp

Four players who saw action with the Buffalo Sabres last season are on the roster for the club's annual summer development camp that begins Wednesday afternoon in Harborcenter.

Forwards Tage Thompson and Victor Olofsson and defensemen Will Borgen and Lawrence Pilut are on the roster the team released Tuesday, although it's unclear if Pilut will take part in on-ice activities after offseason shoulder surgery.

Thompson has played in 106 NHL games the last two years between the Sabres and St. Louis Blues. He had seven goals and five assists in 65 games for the Sabres but then hit his stride in Rochester with six goals and nine points in eight games for the Amerks. He then had two goals in the three-game playoff sweep Rochester endured against the Toronto Marlies.

All six of the club's 2019 draftees will attend, although fourth-rounder Aaron Huglen of Roseau (Minn.) High School is not expected to be on the ice while continuing to nurse an injury.

The team has invited 12 free agents to the camp, including four goalies and Niagara University forward Eric Cooley, a suburban Pittsburgh native who was third on the team in scoring last season with 27 points. Cooley participated in the Toronto Maple Leafs' development camp last summer.

Here's a complete list of camp invitees, with free agents noted by asterisks:

Forwards: Rasmus Asplund, Filip Cederqvist, Eric Cooley*, Dylan Cozens, Marcus Davidsson, Dawson DiPietro*, Stephen Harper*, Aaron Huglen, Caleb Moretz*, Brett Murray, Andrew Oglevie, Victor Olofsson, Kyle Olson*, Josh Passolt*, Matej Pekar, Lukas Rousek, Arttu Ruotsalainen, Tage Thompson

Defense: Justin Baudry*, Tobie Bisson, William Borgen, Jacob Bryson, Linus Cronholm, Casey Fitzgerald, Brandon Hickey, Ryan Johnson, Miska Kukkonen, Oskari Laaksonen, Philip Nyberg, Lawrence Pilut, Mattias Samuelsson, Devante Stephens, William Worge-Kreu, Bryan Yoon*

Goalies: Darion Hanson*, Jonas Johansson, Michael Lackey*, Erik Portillo, Adam Scheel*, Matthew Walsh*


On-ice sessions Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are free and open to the public. There are no tickets but admittance will be on a first-come, first-served basis and is not guaranteed. Saturday's 3-on-3 French Connection Tournament is a ticketed event exclusively for 2019-20 season ticket holders.

Sessions on Wednesday are from 1-2 p.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m. Action Thursday and Friday morning runs from 10:15-11:15 a.m. The second session Thursday runs from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and on Friday goes from noon-1 p.m.

The French Connection Tournament is set for 10:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Saturday.


The team officially confirmed its qualifying offer decisions on its restricted free agents Tuesday.

Receiving offers with 10 percent raises were forwards Remi Elie, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, Evan Rodrigues and C.J. Smith; defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark. Not getting qualifying offers were forwards Eric Cornel and Sean Malone and defensemen Brycen Martin and Jack Dougherty.

Rodrigues' qualifying offer is only for $715,000 and he's certainly expected to negotiate a much larger deal. The same is likely true for McCabe at $1,775,000. Malone, the West Seneca native, didn't get qualified but signed a one-year AHL deal with the Rochester Amerks.

It's likely the end of the line in the organization for Cornel and Martin, who were taken in the second and third round, respectively, by former GM Tim Murray in the 2014 draft. Neither player ever made the NHL. Cornel played full-time the last three years in Rochester, never collecting more than nine goals or 22 points in any season. Martin played just 21 games in Rochester with no points and spent the bulk of his time in the ECHL.


The Sabres started to release piecemeal items about their 50th anniversary celebration via their Twitter feed and website on Tuesday. The team is planning a Fan Fest in Alumni Plaza on Aug. 17, starting with a 5K run and featuring appearances by Sabres players and alumni.

Each decade in franchise history will be celebrated with a special game night. The team said the Oct. 5 home opener against New Jersey will be Captains Night, with captains from throughout the team's history getting invited back for a pregame ceremony, and the Dec. 2 visit by the Devils will be Founders Night, commemorating 50 years to the date the team received its NHL franchise.

Season ticket holders will receive a commemorative souvenir ticket set and a 50th season thank-you gift, as well as their names on the wall by the Sabres' locker room hallway and free premium Sabres Kids Club memberships.


Former Sabres assistant coach Chris Hajt, who spent the last two years working under Phil Housley, has been named an assistant coach for the Ontario Reign of the AHL. Hajt previously worked with Ontario, Los Angeles' top affiliate, from 2015-2017. He is the son of Sabres Hall of Fame defenseman Bill Hajt.

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