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BUFFALO Matt Calvert Jersey Womens , N.Y. (AP) The Sabres’ top prospect, center Casey Mittelstadt, is leaving Minnesota following his freshman season after agreeing to a three-year, entry-level contract with Buffalo on Monday.Mittelstadt is scheduled to join the Sabres on Tuesday, and general manger Jason Botterill said he expects the player to make his NHL debut Thursday, when Buffalo hosts the Detroit Red Wings.With Buffalo out of playoff contention, Botterill also told reporters before Buffalo’s game at Toronto on Monday that he hoped Mittlestadt would consider representing the United States at the world hockey championships in Denmark in May.The agreement with the Sabres was reached a little over a week after Minnesota’s season ended by failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers are also undergoing a change after coach Don Lucia announced he is stepping down following 19 seasons.The 19-year-old Mittelstadt was selected by the Sabres with the No. 8 pick in the 2017 draft.Mittelstadt had 11 goals and 19 assists in 34 games and was named to the Big Ten all-freshmen team this year.He has already made a splash in Buffalo after creating several highlight-reel plays in representing the bronze-medal-winning United States team at the World Junior hockey championship, which was held in the city three months ago.From Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Mittelstadt was named the 10-nation tournament’s MVP after finishing tied for first in scoring with 11 points (four goals, seven assists).Botterill was impressed by how Mittelstadt excelled at the world juniors.”With it being here in Buffalo Cale Makar Jersey Womens , there was that added pressure,” Botterill told The Associated Press in January. ”And I think you saw a player who instead of succumbing to the pressure, actually thriving in that type of environment.”Mittelstadt’s most memorable goal came in a in a 3-2 preliminary-round loss to Slovakia.With the U.S. trailing 2-1, Mittelstadt stripped the puck from Marian Studenic at the Slovakia blue line and circled back into the zone. Mittelstadt kicked the puck between his legs to avoid a check by defender Michal Ivan and didn’t break stride in cutting across the top of the crease and avoiding goalie Roman Durny. He swept a shot into the open left side with 3:11 remaining.Mittelstadt joins a Sabres team that has already extended its franchise-worst playoff drought to seven years, and in jeopardy of finishing last in the overall standings for the third time in five seasons.The Sabres have six games left after playing Toronto, and they are not allowed to demote Mittelstadt to the minors this spring.Mittelstadt will use up the first year of his contract this season. However, he would not be eligible to be exposed for selection in an expansion draft in 2020, should the NHL approve Seattle’s bid to join the league for the 2020-21 season.Mittelstadt’s addition comes a day after defenseman Will Borgen elected to skip his senior season at St. Cloud State to sign a three-year contract with the Sabres.— ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues will have a decidedly new look when the puck drops on the team’s season opener as it hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.The Blues are going with a youth movement as prospects Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou and Sammy Blais all made the roster. Blais is the old man of the group at age 22. Thomas, regarded as one of the Blues’ top prospects, is 19 and Kyrou is 20.What they lack for in experience Riley Nash Jersey Womens , St. Louis hopes they make up for in skill.Article continues below ...Blais, who played in 11 games last season, scored a team-high four preseason goals.“It’s a great feeling,” Blais told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “This year I just wanted to stay here all year and keep working hard and do what I did during the preseason.”Thomas had a goal and three assists in the preseason.“It’s obviously tough when coming in, with the environment and everything, and some pressure on you,” Thomas told the Post-Dispatch. “Whenever you’re trying to make a team, you always focus on stuff, (but) sometimes it’s just better to relax and have fun each day.”Kyrou scored a goal and an assist in the preseason opener in Dallas on Sept. 18. He added two more assists to cement a roster spot.“I just feel a lot more comfortable out there (this year),” Kyrou told the Post-Dispatch. “My speed is a big factor, so I really feel like I can skate out there Martin Hanzal Jersey Womens , create a lot of opportunities.”The trio joins veterans Pat Maroon, Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron as newcomers. All six players start the season as part of the Blues’ top 12 forwards.The Blues start the season with no reserve forwards and will carry nine defensemen, two more than usual. The team elected to go with the extra defensemen as Robert Bortuzzo will serve the final game of a three-game suspension against the Jets and Joel Edmundson is dealing with a groin injury.The Blues and Jets split their four games last season, with each team winning one and losing one on home ice.After a 114-point season and a second-place finish in the rugged Central Division, the Jets are dealing with high expectations. ESPN ranked the Jets No. 1 in its preseason power rankings and nine of Sportsnet’s NHL Insiders predicted that the team will win the Stanley Cup this season.Jets coach Paul Maurice said the team isn’t interested in what others are saying.“They all have a really good understanding of the value of a prediction,” Maurice told NHL.com. “We don’t want to downplay it. Go through the list and find one that was picked first, won the Presidents (Trophy) and won the Cup. Right, there’s a bunch of good teams at the top and there’s a bunch of really good teams that miss the playoffs. It happens every year. And you don’t want to be that team, right? You want to be that team over the course of the year that gets stronger and gets better.“We believe we have enough talent now to be a good team but an understanding that maybe that’s a smaller fraction of the whole pie that goes into having a year like last year.”
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