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Adam Emerges For Sabres
October 13, 2011 - Matt Spielman
Two games into the season Luke Adam is the de facto No. 1 center for the Buffalo Sabres.
Did the organization expect that entering the 2011-12 campaign? Probably not. Will the team accept that on its depth chart this early in the season? I would assume so.
The 2010-11 Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL's outstanding rookie has ascended quickly through the Sabres' minor league system. Adam played four full seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2006-2010, amassing 90 points in 56 games during his final season before jumping up to the Portland Pirates for the playoffs in 2010. The 6-foot-2-inch center then scored 62 points, including 29 goals, in 57 games in the AHL while also tallying four points in 19 games with the Sabres last season as a 20-year-old.
"I learned a lot from guys like Matt Ellis and Mark Parrish. Mark Mancari was there," Adam said recently about his American Hockey League experience. "I look back and it was a huge year for myself."
This past offseason, Adam joined other Sabres youngsters at the now-annual Traverse City prospect tournament and centered the most impressive line there with Marcus Foligno and Zack Kassian. Fans on message boards from some of the other teams at the tournament complained that Adam shouldn't be allowed to compete because he played with the Sabres in 2010, but some players on the other teams were actually two or three years older than Buffalo's second-round pick in the 2008 entry draft.
"Ever since the end of last year my goal has been to play on this hockey team," Adam said. "I took it one day at a time this summer, one day at a time throughout training camp just trying to get better and better every day. Fortunately enough I found myself on the opening-day roster. There's a lot of work ahead to stay here."
So far this season, Adam has looked right at home between seven-year veterans Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek. It is by no accident that head coach Lindy Ruff has surrounded the raw talent of Adam with leadership in Pominville, who was named the captain while the team was overseas in Finland, and by Vanek, who was named one of four assistant captains.
"Both 'Van' and 'Pommer' are both great players," Adam said. "For myself to be fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to play with those guys. It makes the game a lot easier for me. It's early in the season. we can't forget that."
While in Europe, Adam assisted on two of the wingers' goals in a 4-1 win over Anaheim in Helsinki, and found the back of the net twice in the Sabres' 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Berlin. Adam's second goal came on a tap-in after a great pass from Vanek.
"Both our goals came from great battles down low," Adam said. "Vanek's a special player and he's really got the work ethic, too, to make those plays."
The native of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, was named the first star of the game in Berlin.
While Derek Roy came into the season annointed as the team's "No. 1 center," he is still working his way back from a gruesome leg injury suffered last season and a nagging shoulder injury sustained in the preseason and may take some time to get back up to full speed. Ville Leino was signed in the offseason to add some depth down the middle, but if Adam can prove he belongs in the middle of Buffalo's top line throughout this season it will go a long way toward showing that the Sabres are a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference and the National Hockey League.
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Buffalo Sabres' Jason Pominville (29) celebrates with teammates Thomas Vanek (26), and Luke Adam (72) after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Washington. AP photo