After Saturday afternoons win against the Winnipeg Jets, Sabres fans left First Niagara Centre with huge smiles, and a sense of happiness. Buffalo not only won the game, but all three Sabres goals were scored by three young stars who are key pieces to the future, in Hudson Fasching, Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel. Sabres fans will get very used to this happening in the coming years.
After spending the last three seasons with The University of Minnesota, Fashing signed his Entry-Level contract with the Sabres earlier in the week and played in his first career NHL game on Saturday, and didn’t disappoint. He scored a goal midway through the first period that only a true power forward could score in the NHL. Fasching accumulated 12:02 time on ice, and recorded two shots in his first career game.
At 6’2” and 216 lbs, Fasching possesses great size, and can be a dominant power forward in the NHL. There is no doubt the Burnsville, Minnesota native is a gifted offensive player, as he recorded 20 goals and 38 points in 37 games with The University of Minnesota this season. Fasching plays with confidence and isn’t afraid to use his big body and punish opposing defenders to win battles in the corners. If he can improve on his speed in the offseason, there is no doubt that Fasching will play a significant role on the Sabres next season.
Another recently signed Sabre to make his NHL debut on Saturday was former Minnesota State U – Mankato defenseman Casey Nelson. Although Nelson didn’t carry the hype that Fasching did, he was still extremely impressive nonetheless. Nelson assisted on Fasching’s goal in the first period, which was good for his first NHL point in his first career game.
Nelson spent the last three years at Minnesota State U, where he was awarded the WCHA’s best defensive player of the year for the 2015-16 season. At 6’2” and 182 lbs, Nelson has good size for an NHL defenseman. He has great speed, and possesses excellent vision, especially when making the initial breakout passes. Offensively, he was able to get the puck through from the point on multiple occasions in his first game. Overall, there was a lot to like about Nelson’s first game.
As the 2015-16 season is winding down, the Sabres have shown substantial improvement over the past two seasons, and are only three games below .500. There is reason to believe that the Sabres can be a playoff team come next season. With young talent among the likes of Eichel, Reinhart, Fasching and Nelson, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Buffalo Sabres.