Tonight kicks off a two-day, three-team preseason tournament hosted by the Buffalo Sabres involving your New Jersey Devils. The Devils on entry level contracts, to be more precise. Buffalo has called this the 2015 Prospect Challenge and it features the rookies of the Sabres, Bruins, and Devils. The Devils will play the Sabres tonight at 7 PM EST and they will play Boston tomorrow at 7 PM EST. The tourney will conclude with Buffalo playing Boston on Monday night. Tickets are very much available as far as I can tell. So if you're in the area, head on to Buffalo's website, pay $10 plus any taxes and/or fees, and go to the First Niagara Center to watch some live hockey.
This is going to be a general, open post for both games. There's little need to give this our standard, full coverage with a game preview, a game thread, and a game recap. These two games are the preseason for the preseason. These younger players received some additional attention in practice, they'll get some games to see where they are, and they'll likely be present for the start of training camp but most will return to Albany or their original junior teams.
Adding to that lack of need for fuller coverage is a lack of availability. I've rumblings that the Sabres' website might stream these games online, but nothing has been announced yet so it may not happen The team's official website has stated that their local radio station, WGR 550 AM, will broadcast the game. You can listen to their station online; their website does have a "Listen Live" function. So at 7 PM, hit that, and you should soon hear their Sabres beat reporter Paul Hamilton do play by play and ex-Sabre and ex-Devil Andrew Peters do color commentary. Beyond that, I don't know what to tell you about following these two games because I really don't know what else will be there. Not even Tom Gulitti will be there. So rather than go all out, this open post with a few updates will suffice for the tourney.
In any case, this is the Devils' roster for the Prospect Challenge. It's a full one with fifteen forwards and seven defensemen. I found this short video from their recent practice on the Devils' website. It touts that Pavel Zacha was centering Blake Speers and Reid Boucher as a "top line." That would be something to pay attention to. The three players on tryout contracts, goalie Ken Appleby, forward Alexandre Goulet, and defenseman Jacob Sweeny, all have every reason to put up good performances. It would go a long way for their chances at getting a contract, even a minor-league deal. With two games back-to-back, Appleby should get a game. We'll see whether Goulet and Sweeny get in as well. In general, the hope is that everyone gets through the games with no injuries and the goal is for players to put in good performances. Whether they win or lose, that's going to be meaningless. Again, this is preseason hockey before the actual preseason.
Right, so if you're able to head to the games or you're able to follow them somehow, then please comment on both of them and the short tourney in general in this very post. If there are any updates regarding if/how these games will be broadcast, then please include them here and I'll update this post in time. Thank you for reading.