Lawrence Pilut said the Sabres had been after him for a while

June 29, 2018

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - On Friday, the Sabres prospects had a total skills practice. There was a lot of passing and a lot of stickhandling in tight places.

They wrapped it up with a 3-on-3 between the blue lines in the neutral zone. Rasmus Dahlin started with a huge turnover forcing Hunter Shepard into a huge save. After that, he was the Dahlin all the fans in HarborCenter came to see. He absolutely demolished Matej Pekar with a huge hit and then ended the scrimmage with a sweet pass to a wide open Brendan Guhle for another goal.

Will Borgen showed he’s the real deal when it comes to contact as he absolutely stood one guy straight up and hammered him. He pinned another in the net and wouldn’t let him out.

In the first group, Lawrence Pilut was, by far, the best at 3-on-3. He has real quick, had slick moves and his passing really shined. He sent a gorgeous pass to Ivan Chukarov (2015 seventh round pick) for a tap-in goal.

Pilut was signed by the Sabres as a free agent after he was named the best defenseman in the SHL. Pilut is in his first development camp and the 22-year-old said, “It’s been great, everyone has been great to me, great practices, great boys so I’m having fun.”

Injuries have forced 2016 third round pick Casey Fitzgerald to the sideline. The defenseman is here and is Pilut’s roommate.

Pilut had other NHL offers, but said he chose the Sabres because they had been after him for a while, “It started pretty early last season, I had a good discussion with Steve Greeley and it felt like it’s a good opportunity here since it’s a young team and it’s a hungry team here, so I want to be a part of it.”

There are plenty of players from Sweden here and Pilut appreciates that, but he said you can’t just hang around with them, “It’s always easier when you have a couple of guys you know from your country, but at the same time, you’ve got to get used to everything and it’s all new to me to come over here and play on the smaller ice surface, but it feels like I’m already adjusting a little bit now, so I’m feeling good.”

Pilut played against Rasmus Dahlin in the SHL and like everybody else, he knows what Dahlin can do, “I’m impressed by him, he’s a one of a kind defenseman, you won’t see others doing what he does out there, I think he’s just incredible.”

Pilut has shown some great offensive skill in this development camp. He said that highlights his game, “I would describe my game as a two-way defenseman, better on offense probably.

“I like to jump in on the rush and I like to move on the blue line.”

Pilut seems like a team oriented player. He was voted the best defenseman in the SHL, but he wanted team success, “Of course it meant a lot, I just wish that the team went better. It was a pretty slow season, a lot of injuries, but for myself, it was a good year and I took steps as a player and a person, so I’m happy with it.”

Not only did Pilut play against Dahlin, but he also played against 2016 second round pick Rasmus Asplund. Asplund said he’s glad he played one more season in the SHL because he felt his game improved a lot. Pilut said the centermen was hard to play against, “He’s a hardworking centermen with a lot of good offensive qualities, he’s like a flash out there in the offensive zone and I think he’s got a good shot too.”

The practices are now done for development camp 2018, but the French Connection 3-on-3 tournament is Saturday at 10:45. It’s free to season ticket holders and they must have a ticket to get in.