Sabres Recall Brayden McNabb: What to Expect (and a Fun Draft Backstory)
The latest injury to hit the Sabres is to top defenseman Robyn Regehr. Buffalo has recalled
the entire Amerks roster tough defenseman Brayden McNabb to try and fill his skates.
McNabb joins Zack Kassian, TJ Brennan, Corey Tropp, and Drew MacIntyre (and one could argue Matt Ellis) as Amerks currently suiting up in Blue and Gold sweaters.
What can fans expect from McNabb during his first call-up? Much like Kassian, he’s going to play a tough, in your face game. Like Kassian, he’s not going to scream off the bench and hit everything not wearing team colors. He’s going to do what the Sabres demand of him in his first call-up: to play mistake free, hard-nosed, blueline hockey.
(Keeping away from a pairing with Marc-Andre Gragnani can help him in that “mistake free” department.)
Before getting the call, McNabb was 4th in Rochester in points (1 goal, 9 assists). The huge 6’5″ 212 pound defender has the size and reach to be very effective in his first duties as a Sabre – but there’s a back story to his coming to Buffalo. From buffalo74‘s draft review of McNabb:
Darcy Regier does his homework.
Brayden McNabb is looking to add reasons to believe that the 2009 draft class could potentially be just as special (as the 2008 class) – with a bit of a twist.
First, let’s get more familiar with Mcnabb. Checking in at 6-4, 200 lbs, Brayden patrols the blue line as team captain for the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. This season, he set a franchise record for goals scored by a defenseman with 21, good enough for 72 points in the regular season, and was aptly named a 1st team all star for his efforts.
His point total was also good enough for third best among WHL defenseman, behind only Brenden Kichton (Spokane Chiefs) and Stefan Elliot (Saskatoon Blades). To put those rankings in perspective, Elliot earned his points in 71 games playes, Kichton in 64 – and McNabb in only 59.
As for that twist:
Regier was aware of McNabb’s pre-draft credentials – in the 2008-09 season, he played in the CHL Top Prospects Game for Team Orr, adding three assists for the squad and earning a +3. He was a member of Team Canada in the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, in which he and his team received a gold medal, and was also a member of Team Canada for the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championships (bronze medal).
Beyond the awards and credentials though, was one very interesting fact that slipped under the radar of Sabres fans and draftniks: McNabb attended Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, a prep school in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, where he played alongside Tyler Myers.
Well played, Darcy.
McNabb also has a friend in the Sabres 1st round pick of that same 2009 draft in Zack Kassian. The two played together in that 2009 IIHF World U-18 Championships.
Well played, indeed.
McNabb was Buffalo’s 2nd selection (3rd round) in the ’09 draft. The next name to come our way from that class should be Marcus Foligno, who was taken in the 4th.
With Luke Adam and Tyler Myers from the 2008 draft, and now Zack Kassian, (and possibly Marcus Foligno) from ’09, the culture of Sabres hockey is finally getting a dose of big, hard hitting bodies. They all may have arrived (or be arriving) a little earlier than planned, but it’s good to see this depth paying off now.
Good luck tonight, Brayden.
next post: It’s Beginning to Look a lot like 2007