The Buffalo Sabres are squaring off against the Washington Capitals today at 2 p.m., and Washington’s roster features some intriguing talent.
The Buffalo Sabres open their preseason against an intriguing lineup of Washington Capitals players, many of whom are already in line to snag a roster spot with the big club. This is a stark contrast from the Sabres lineup, where you will find a roster full of prospects and players with primarily two or fewer seasons of NHL experience.
Therefore, the Sabres are in for quite a challenge when they faceoff with the Caps later today. But which Washington players are the most intriguing of the bunch? Keep reading to discover three names that jump out, and what makes them worth watching today as the Sabres try to open the preseason with the W.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Capitals: 3 Caps to keep an eye on
1 – Matthew Phillips, F
While there are a pair of NHL regulars on this list, Matthew Phillips is not one of them, having just three games of experience in the big leagues. However, he has so far been a gem at Capitals camp, and he’s in strong consideration to make the team’s final roster.
Every prospect in the preseason seeing ice time for all 32 NHL organizations will be looking to do all they can to get noticed, even if they can’t snag a spot on the roster. But for those in Phillips’ position, look for him to play with a heightened sense of urgency.
2 – Dylan Strome, C
Dylan Strome is coming off a career-high 65-point outing, and for a Buffalo Sabres team featuring a lot of prospects in this one, playing against someone like Strome gives them an opportunity. At the absolute least, he will give the Blue and Gold experience of what it’s like to play against an NHL regular, and a solid one at that.
Last season in Washington, Strome was a fixture on the power play, logging 243.5 minutes. The Caps also found twine 38 times when he was on the ice, logging a 17.5% shooting percentage in the process.
3 – Anthony Mantha, W
In 2021, the Capitals traded for Mantha, but he’s yet to give them overtly positive returns, so today’s game gives him the perfect opportunity to serve as a launch pad for redemption. The Buffalo Sabres are rolling with a group comprising mostly prospects and players who don’t have an incredible amount of NHL experience, so today is Mantha’s chance to shine.
However, going up against a seasoned veteran heading into his tenth NHL season, it also gives those young Sabres prospects and players a chance to get the best of a player who hasn’t been what the Caps were hoping he’d be. Both parties have a lot to benefit from in this matchup, and despite the fact it’s only preseason, it will be fun to see how the Sabres fare against Mantha.
Source: Capitals Confirm Roster For Preseason Opener Against Sabres; Projected Combos & Names To Watch by The Hockey News
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)