Buffalo Sabres prospect Anthony Florentino has been a star in the making for a long time going back to his street hockey days at Fallon Field in Boston, Ma. when the then barely teenaged Florentino would dominate much older competition. Now the Providence College defenseman is proving his worth in Lake Placid, N.Y. and trying out for Team USA’s Under 20 Team.
The Sabres drafted Florentino in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft, and he could very well go on to be one of the steals of that draft. Last year with the Providence Friars, Florentino recorded 11 points in 30 games and brought the physicality and tenacity every night. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but there are many signs that he could develop into a truly elite two-way defenseman.
If Florentino hopes to make the team and represent the U.S. at the World Junior Championships, the physical side of his game is what will get him on the team. There are enough skilled, puck-moving defensemen to go around, but blue liners with his type of grit and physical presence are valuable and needed. Having a player like Florentino out there would surely help the U.S. prevent scoring chances against and make the team tougher to play against on the whole.
While his pro debut is still a ways off, the Sabres should be happy with the progress Florentino has made and continues to make on the ice. Look for the Massachusetts native not only to make the U.S. World Junior Team, but also be one of the better all-around defensemen in Hockey East next season. The young defenseman has a very bright future playing hockey, and this season he will just be scratching the surface.