Weissbach enjoyed his first development camp with the Sabres

July 12, 2017 - 12:16 pm
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After spending his entire life playing hockey in his home country of Sweden, Linus Weissbach made the tough decision to leave for North America last summer and play in the United States Hockey League with the Tri-City Storm.

The 18-year old put up some impressive numbers in the SuperElit Under-20 league with the Frölunda HC program the season before, scoring 17 goals and finishing third in league scoring with 48 points in 44 games. Even though he produced 48 points and was one of the league-leading scorers, Weissbach went undrafted in the 2016 NHL Draft.

With the Storm, Weissbach continued to produce at nearly a point per-game pace with 19 goals and 47 points in 49 games. He ended up leading the Storm in scoring, and finished tied for 16th in league scoring.

The transition from the European-style of hockey to the North American game went well for Weissbach, but it certainly did not come without its struggles.

"As for everyone, it takes a little bit of time before you get adjusted to the lifestyle of the game," Weissbach said following the French Connection 3-on-3 Tournament at Buffalo Sabres development camp on Tuesday. "Once I did that, I think it all got to me pretty fast. After that, I started playing my game more and more and it all ended well."

Going into the 2017 NHL Draft, Weissbach did not set any expectations as to whether or not he'd see his name called. That all changed with the Sabres selected him with the 192nd overall pick in the seventh round of the draft.

"I was back home in Sweden watching the draft with a couple of buddies," Weissbach recalled. "[We] just sat there, watched the TV and saw my name pop up. It was an exciting time. Me and my buddies were having a good time... It was fun getting drafted, especially by the Sabres."

While he may come across as a small and undersized forward at 5' 8" and 161-pounds, Weissbach certainly makes it up with speed and skill on the ice. The 19-year old is a good puck-handler with good natural instinct and vision. He is a shifty, slick forward who is able to use his speed to his advantage when on the offensive attack. He can stop on a dime and make a defender or goalie miss, or he can let a quick shot go with his silky smooth release. As good as he is as putting the puck in the net, Weissbach is just as good at distributing the puck and making plays to create scoring opportunities.

"I describe myself as a smaller, offensive guy who likes to create plays," Weissbach said. "I like to use my speed out there [and] try to create as many chances for me and my teammates as possible."

Weissbach did not stand out among the rest of the group while at development camp, but showed the ability to be a playmaker and an offensive threat. In the 3-on-3 tournament, Weissbach skated well and looked as though he can hold his own on the ice. Overall, he thought his first NHL development camp was a fun experience.

"Obviously it was a fun week. Coming in, I didn't have too many expectations, but just meeting all new guys and getting on the ice was a fun thing."

While a lot of the work was put in on and off the ice during the four-day camp, Weissbach was able to get out of the facility and explore the city where, maybe one day, he will call home.

"We've been spending quite some time here at the rink, but I've been able to walk around the city a little bit. It's nice," said Weissbach. "I've been down to Canalside and seen all that, and obviously the facilities are awesome. It's been a great week."

Weissbach will continue to play in North America in the near future as he prepares to play as a freshman for the University of Wisconsin this fall. While he's not only looking to continue to grow as a player, he's also looking forward to getting a good education while becoming part of the hockey community in Madison.

"It's a great place," Weissbach said. "I went there for my visit and [I have] nothing but great things to say about the coaching staff and all the players that I met. [I'll] go there and try to develop as much as I can both on and off the ice. Education is one thing that's important to me. I just want to get better every day there."

You can hear my entire interview with Weissbach below:

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