The Buffalo Sabres plan to find out right away who wants to compete for a roster spot.
The Sabres, who gather for physicals today, will begin the first of three straight scrimmage days Thursday when they kick off training camp for the 2013-14 season. The Sabres are listing 60 players on their camp roster, including unsigned restricted free agent Cody Hodgson, and they’ll split into three teams for a round-robin game format.
Buffalo will also practice each day in First Niagara Center, with every session open to the public. The schedule:
Thursday: Session One 8:45-9:45 a.m.; Session Two 10-10:45 a.m.; scrimmage 11:15 a.m. to noon; Session Three 12:15-1 p.m.
Friday: Session One 7:45-8:45 a.m.; scrimmage 9:15-10:30 a.m.
Saturday: Session One 8:45-9:45 a.m.; Session Two 10-10:45 a.m.; scrimmage 11:15 a.m. to noon; Session Three 12:15-1 p.m.
The only surprise on the training camp roster is former first-round pick Colton Gillies. The 24-year-old, selected 16th overall by Minnesota in 2007, recorded one goal and two points in 27 games with Columbus last season. The 6-foot-4 winger will attend on a tryout basis.
The rest of the roster features holdovers from Buffalo and Rochester, offseason signees and the organization’s top prospects. Few season-opening spots are locked up on a team that has missed the playoffs for two straight years, so the coaching staff will immediately get a chance to gauge the hopefuls’ hunger.
As reported by The News last month, the coaching staff will include Buffalo native Jerry Forton as an assistant to Ron Rolston. The team had not acknowledged before Tuesday the hiring of Forton, who played at the University at Buffalo and was an assistant at Niagara University and Harvard.
Forton joins fellow newcomer Joe Sacco and former Lindy Ruff assistants Teppo Numminen and Jim Corsi on Rolston’s staff. The Sabres also are attempting to strengthen their approach to analytics with Jason Nightingale, who will serve in the role of hockey data analyst, and have broadened scout Graham Beamish’s duties to include statistical analysis.
The coaches will oversee 36 forwards, 18 defensemen and six goaltenders during camp. The Sabres have seven preseason games, including the opener Sunday in Montreal. The first of three home exhibitions is Sept. 19 against Carolina. The regular season begins Oct. 2 with a trip to Detroit.