(Originally published on OJHL league website)
A trio of Ontario Junior Hockey League products will represent the New Jersey Devils at the 2018 Buffalo Sabres Prospects Challenge beginning Friday.
Buffalo Jr. Sabres graduates Ryan Schmelzer and Dylan Seitz and former Kingston Voyageur Brett Seney are three of 26 players (3 goaltenders, 8 defensemen and 15 forwards) on the Devils roster for the four-day event that will take place Sept. 7-10 at Harborcenter in downtown Buffalo.
The host Sabres, the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins will also take part in the annual round-robin challenge that features prospects from each team. A native of Buffalo, Schmelzer signed a one-year contract with the Devils’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Binghamton Devils, in July after a stint with the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder last. Schmelzer played for the Jr. Sabres for three seasons (2011-14), ending his OJHL career as captain of his hometown team.
A two-time All-Atlantic Hockey Conference selection at Canisius College and the league’s Top Defensive Forward in 2016-17, Schmelzer appeared in 143 games during his four seasons with the Golden Griffins. He ended his career ranked among the top-10 players in the Division I era of the program in career goals (40/T-10th), assists (66/10th) and points (106/T-10th) all while amassing a plus/minus rating of +45. Schmelzer also concluded his on Main Street tied with former standout Cory Conacher – another OJHL product out of Burlington – for first place on the program’s career game-winning goals chart with 12.
Seitz, a native of Eden, NY, played for the Jr. Sabres in 2015-16, amassing 13 goals and 16 assists.
A 15th round selection of the Kitchener Rangers in the 2015 OHL draft, the 6-foot-2 center played 60 games for the Rangers in 2016-17. He was traded to the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL a year ago.
Now 19, he’s a fan favorite in New Brunswick.
“He’s turned into a real good player for us,” Moncton coach Darren Rumble told the Waterloo Region Record this week. “Also, when the time is right, he can give us a little flavour slash sandpaper.”
Brett Seney was an OJHL all-star and a member of the league’s all-prospects team during his two seasons (2012-14) with the Kingston Voyageurs. He would represent The OJ on Team Canada East at the 2013 CJHL Prospect Game series, being named player of the game in the opener.
Drafted by the Devils (sixth round, 2015) during his four years of NCAA pucks at Merrimack, the London, ON native played 12 games with New Jersey’s AHL team in Binghamton last spring, then signed a two-year entry level contract with the Devils.
“His size (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) jumps out at you, but this kid’s got skill, he’s got hockey sense. He can make plays, he can shoot the puck,” Rick Kowalsky, the Devils coach in the AHL told the NHL’s team’s website. “I’m excited to see this guy at development camp, training camp, the prospect tourney, because if anything, he impressed us quite a bit. I want the NHL coaches and everybody else to see what we saw.”
“He’s assertive in everything he does. Even though he’s small, he plays with might,” Kowalsky said. “That’s what we were all really impressed with. He gets under guys skin, but he backs it up by being physical. I don’t want to use the term rat, because you don’t see that too much anymore, and he’s not a yappy guy. He just does it with the way he plays.”
Schmelzer has been assigned No. 79, Seitz 81 and Seney 43. Tickets for the games are $10 and are available for purchase in person at the KeyBank Center Box Office, by phone at 1-888-223-6000 or via https://www.nhl.com/sabres
2018 Buffalo Sabres Prospects Challenge Schedule:
Friday, Sept. 7 • Pittsburgh vs. Boston, 3:30 p.m. • Buffalo vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 • New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m. • Buffalo vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 10 • Boston vs. New Jersey, 9:30 a.m. • Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh, 12:30 p.m.