Through their first five games of the 2016-17 season, the Rochester Americans sit at a respectable 3-2, picking up wins against the Hershey Bears, Toronto Marlies, and Binghamton Senators while dropping two games against the Syracuse Crunch.
The Americans rank among the top of the Eastern Conference, having secured six out of ten points against teams with superior records.
Hudson Fasching and Casey Nelson, who were recently sent to Rochester after starting the season with the Sabres, both pitched in with a goal in the team’s 5-2 wins against the Toronto Marlies Friday night.
A name that Sabres fans should be keeping an eye on is 26-year-old Cole Schneider, a Williamsville, New York native that has been absolutely dominating the competition thus far. The winger has three goals and five assists throughout the first five games, and is currently leading the AHL in scoring.
Cal O’Reilly has also gotten off to a strong start this season. O’Reilly, who played twenty games for the Sabres last year, has four assists and two goals in the team’s five games, good for a plus one rating.
Sabres’ 2016 first round draft pick Alexander Nylander has also been able to find his footing in Rochester, as he currently has four points in five games. The 18-year-old Swede with tons of potential is adjusting well to the AHL.
Leading the team defensively has been offseason acquisition Taylor Fedun, a 28-year-old who spent last season with the Vancouver Canucks‘ AHL affiliate. Despite having a -2 plus/minus rating, Fedun has four points, tied for third in scoring among AHL defensemen.
Evan Rodrigues and Justin Bailey have also had decent starts, having three and two points respectively. Both players could spend some time with the Sabres this season should any injuries occur, so consistent production from these two forwards will keep them near the top of the call-up list.
Sabres fans will be happy that Linus Ullmark, perhaps the team’s most promising young goaltender, has been in net for the team’s three wins this season. Ullmark currently has a record of 3-1 with a goals against average of 2.75 and a save percentage of .926%.
Rochester has been impressive thus far this season, and will look to improve their record next weekend when the team travels to Newfoundland to play two games against the St. Johns IceCaps.