Weekly Feature

2017-07-13 / Sports

Malone hopes to make good mark on Sabres’ new coaching staff

Harvard grad invited to fifth development camp
by PATRICK J. NAGY
Reporter


West Seneca native Sean Malone sets a screen during Buffalo Sabres Development Camp Saturday at HarborCenter. Malone, a sixth-round pick by the Sabres in 2013, attended his fifth development camp although injuries forced him to sit out the previous two camps. 
Photo by Dan Nesselbush West Seneca native Sean Malone sets a screen during Buffalo Sabres Development Camp Saturday at HarborCenter. Malone, a sixth-round pick by the Sabres in 2013, attended his fifth development camp although injuries forced him to sit out the previous two camps. Photo by Dan Nesselbush West Seneca native Sean Malone admitted there was a different vibe when he participated at Buffalo Sabres’ Development Camp Saturday through Tuesday at HarborCenter.

Malone, 22, a sixth-round pick by the Sabres in 2013, made his fifth appearance at camp, making him one of the oldest Sabres prospects invited. The 6-foot, 190-pound center was hoping he could use development camp as a way to make a good impression on the new coaching staffs for the Buffalo Sabres (Phil Housley) and the Rochester Americans (Chris Taylor), the Sabres’ minor-league affiliate.

Since Malone was drafted four years ago, the Sabres have had three general managers and four head coaches.

“There are a lot of new faces,” Malone said. “A lot has changed over the past couple of years. It seems like every day, you are walking in and seeing somebody new. First impressions are important, and I want to leave a good one.”

Malone had not participated in development camp since 2014 because of back-to-back offseason hip surgeries in 2015 and 2016.

“The past few years have been tough to watch the guys skating when you wanted to be out there,” Malone said. “I’m happy to be here, back with the guys and developing relationships.”

Malone recently completed a four-year college career at Harvard University in which he finished with 42 goals and 57 assists for 99 points, and a plus-31 rating in 115 games. He was the Ivy League’s Co-Rookie of the Year in 2014. His senior season ended on April 6 with a 2-1 loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the semifinals of the NCAA Frozen Four.

Harvard finished 28-6-2 this year.

Harvard also won the Beanpot trophy — the coveted prize awarded to the winner of an annual tournament involving Harvard, Boston University, Boston College and Northeastern — for the first time since 1993. The Crimson also won the ECAC regular season title, the ECAC crown and the Ivy League championship.

“I owe everything to Harvard,” Malone said. “I was able to step in and play as a true freshman. To see our team go that far is a sort of a testament to what we did as freshmen. We only won six games when we were freshmen, but that entire class played a lot of minutes early on, and I think it helped us out in the end.”

As heartbreaking as Harvard’s loss in the Frozen Four was, Malone didn’t have much time to think about it, as 48 hours later, he signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Sabres and was called up for the team’s road game against the Florida Panthers on April 8.

“It is an experience not many people get,” Malone said. “It was weird playing with guys who have families back home. I talked to some of those guys on the flight and picked their brain about certain things. I learned a lot from it. Getting that experience early I hope will make the transition a little easier this year. I was fortunate to play in one game, but I know a lot of work has to be put in for me to get there.”

Malone hopes to make the Sabres’ roster, but if he doesn’t, he will play in Rochester for the upcoming season. He knows it will be a challenge, but he is ready for the opportunity.

“Talking with the GM and head coach, it’s going to be a tough situation with all of the new guys, but they are also new here, so leaving a good first impression will be huge, especially at a camp like this,” Malone said. “I am looking forward to starting fresh on a new team.”

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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