A Prospects Challenge that could have determined the next step in Brett Murray's career earned the 21-year-old winger an invitation to the Rochester Americans' training camp.
The Buffalo Sabres announced Tuesday that Murray, Pascal Aquin, Justin Baudry, Tobie Bisson, Shaw Boomhower and Kurt Gosselin will be joining the Amerks for camp later this month. Meanwhile, winger Lukas Rousek and goalie Matthew Welsh were returned to their respective junior teams.
Stephen Harper, Bobby MacIntyre and Sebastien Vidmar were released from their tryouts with the Sabres. Murray is unquestionably the most intriguing name among the transactions. He scored 41 goals with Youngstown of the United States Hockey League last season, however, the Sabres challenged Murray to prove to them this summer that he was ready to become a professional.
"We were crystal clear with Brett coming into development camp that it was going be a great opportunity for him to show us how committed he was to hockey," assistant general manager Randy Sexton told The Buffalo News last Friday. "He did a very good job. He had a very good development camp. His test results were very good. His conditioning was very good. Significantly improved from what we’ve seen in the past.
"After camp we were clear with him the next step is to come to rookie tournament, have a good tournament. If you have a good tournament, that could very well translate to an invitation to Rochester’s camp. No contract but an invitation to Rochester’s camp."
Murray, a fourth-round draft pick in 2016, was committed to Miami University (Ohio) for next season but decided not to join the school's hockey program. He made a few nice plays in the Sabres' opening game of the Prospects Challenge, specifically his reverse hit to gain possession prior to Dylan Cozens' goal, and was much better in the final two games, despite a few mistakes around the opposing net.
An invitation to Rochester does not guarantee Murray a roster spot with the Amerks, though. He will face competition from a roster that includes a number of players with American Hockey League experience. Though Murray was a goal scorer in the USHL, the 6-foot-5-inch power forward will likely need to learn how to become a checking-line player at the next level.