Flashback to July 31, 2006. The Buffalo Sabres were just beginning day one of their five-day rookie camp at HSBC Arena, as it was known then. Fifteen players were scheduled to attend the camp…. seven years later, where are they now?
I’ll admit it: I was a little bored this morning, so I decided to do a little digging around and found this article from Sabres.com that references the 2006 rookie camp, which began seven years ago today.
Of fifteen players set to attend the camp, three players still remain with the Buffalo Sabres organization to this day: Patrick Kaleta, Drew Stafford and Mike Weber. The remainder of the players have been traded, signed elsewhere or are otherwise occupied.
Let’s take a look.
- Benjamin Breault (C): Breault was a member of the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar at the time. Since then, he’s played with the Quebec Remparts and Baie-Comeau before briefly joining the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. Breault just completed his fourth season with Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Chris Butler (D): Butler was a member of the University of Denver in 2006. He went on to play for the AHL’s Portland Pirates and appeared in 155 NHL games for the Buffalo Sabres. He then played for the Calgary Falmes before finishing last season with Karlskrona HK in Sweden.
- Mike Card (D): Card is a product of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets who has made the jump to playing overseas recently. He played for the Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabres in 2006-07 before jumping around between the ECHL and AHL (Rochester, Portland) from 2007 to 2009. He played in the DEL from 2009-2011 with the Kassel Huskies and Cologne Sharks before playing the 2011-12 season in Italy with Alleghe HC. Card spent last season with Tingsryds AIF in Sweden. He had 11 points and 48 penalty minutes in 45 games.
- Michael Funk (D): Funk was another product of the WHL, coming out of the Portland Winter Hawks system. After his WHL days, he played with the Rochester Americans and appeared in nine games with the Buffalo Sabres over two season. He played with the Portland Pirates in 2008-09 and the Manitoba Moose in 2009-10, but hasn’t played since. Funk was forced into early retirement due to concussion-related issues.
- Matt Generous (D): After playing four years of college hockey with St. Lawrence University, Generous played with the AHL’s Portland Pirates in 2009-10. He split the next season between the ECHL’s Reading Royals and the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, but has since spent two seasons with Lukko Rauma of SM-liiga.
- Marc-Andre Gragnani (D): Another QMJHL product, Gragnani finished his junior hockey career with the Prince Edward Island Rocket in 2007. He spent the next season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, then went on to play the majority of the next three seasons with the Portland Pirates. Gragnani appeard in 44 games with the Buffalo Sabres in 2011-12 before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks. He’s now a part of the Carolina Hurricanes organization.
- Dylan Hunter (LW): Dylan Hunter, a product of the OHL’s London Knights, has since returned to his roots. He ended his OHL career in 2006 and appeared in the AHL and ECHL with six different teams, but has returned to London as an assistant coach since the 2011-12 season.
- Patrick Kaleta (RW): In the summer of 2006, Kaleta had just completed his junior hockey career with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He’s played almost exclusively with the Sabres since then, with the exception of 29 games in the 2007-08 season (played with the Rochester Americans). Last season, Kaleta had one goal in 34 games.
- Tim Kennedy (LW): Kennedy played for Michigan Skate University until 2008, when he joined the AHL’s Portland Pirates. He played 79 games with the Sabres from 2008-2010. After being bought out, he played with the Hartford Wolf Pack/CT Whale, Rochester Americans, Florida Panthers, San Antonio Rampage, Worcester and San Jose Sharks. He recently signed with the Phoenix Coyotes.
- Clarke MacArthur (LW): MacArthur appeared in the 2006 rookie camp after playing the previous season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. He’d go on to spend parts of the next four seasons with the Sabres and the Americans before joining the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009-10. MacArthur then played the majority of three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs before signing a contract with the Ottawa Senators this offseason.
- Mark Mancari (RW): Like MacArthur, Mancari also spent the 2005-06 season with the Rochester Americans. After rookie camp, he returned there for the following season but also appeared in three games with the Sabres. Since then, he’s been bounced around – including a second go-around with the Sabres organization after spending time with the Vancouver Canucks. Shortly after becoming a free agent this offseason, Mancari signed a one-year, two-way contract with the St. Louis Blues.
- Thomas Morrow (D): Morrow attended the 2006 rookie camp prior to his final season with Boston University. After his college hockey career ended, he played with the Hannover Indians, a team playing in the third tier of ice hockey in Germany. He played in the ECHL between 2008 and 2010 with the Bakersfield Condors and Kalamazoo Wings.
- Daniel Paille (LW): Paille was the most experienced attendee of the 2006 rookie camp, having spent the prior two seasons with the Americans but also having 14 NHL games under his belt at the time. He went on to split the 2006-07 season between the NHL and AHL before making the NHL full-time in 2007. Paille joined the Boston Bruins in 2009 and won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011.
- Drew Stafford (RW): After getting out of the University of North Dakota in 2006, Stafford went on to play part of one season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. He’s been with the Sabres ever since and and appeared in 46 games with the NHL squad last season, scoring six goals and 12 assists.
- Mike Weber (D): Weber went on to finish his OHL career with Windsor and Barrie before joining the Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabres for the 2007-08 season. He went back and forth between the AHL and NHL until he made the Sabres lineup for good in 2010. Still, he struggled to maintain a roster spot due to an overcrowded blueline for a while. Since then, he’s found a spot of his own and has proven himself to be a consistent player when giving the opportunity.