BUFFALO, N.Y.- Buffalo Sabres Development Camp features 40 participants. Some flew in from as far away as Russia. Others could bike to the rink. But, no matter where they came from or how they got here, they all have the same mindset.
To learn. To improve. And, to do whatever it takes to one day play at the professional level.
A few players at camp already have some pro experience, like Mikhail Grigorenko and Chad Ruhwedel. However, the majority of them have not played an NHL game, such as local products Justin Bailey and Sean Malone.
The Sabres drafted Bailey in the second round last month and the Williamsville native is quickly learning from the guys around him.
"Last year, I watched the draft obviously, being a Sabres fan myself. And, you see guys like Grigorenko. It's good to go to guys who have been through this training camp before. Guys who have played a few NHL games and to ask them questions since they obviously know better than you do. I've been utilizing that to the best of my ability so far."
As for Malone, the Buffalo native and sixth round pick enjoys the friendly competition.
"In the weight room we have testing and each of the guys want to bench more than the other guy. It's pretty fun, but it's competitive at the same time."
Malone mentions he hasn't talked extensively yet with Grigorenko or the other players with pro experience, but says he plans to speak some during the summer.