HELSINKI, FINLAND – While Buffalo Sabres fans may not have as many prospects to keep tabs on as in years past at the World Junior Championship, Team USA defenseman Will Borgen is definitely worth watching as the sole piece of Sabres property in Helsinki.
The 6’2″ defenseman currently enrolled at St. Cloud State University stock has risen quite significantly since being drafted by the Sabres in the fourth round, 92nd overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. As a matter of fact, Borgen wasn’t even invited to USA Hockey’s world junior development camp in August, but captured the program’s attention after getting off to a strong start at the NCAA level.
When asked about what the difference has been, the 19 year old remained humble.
“Not much has changed [since getting drafted in the summer], said Borgen. I’ve just been playing my game and good things have happened so far; I can’t complain.”
— Joseph Vito DeLuca (@joevitodeluca) January 2, 2016
His modest behavior translates to his on ice performance. As he said, he stays within himself and tries to help his team win anyway possible. Whether it’s staying in sound defensive position or carrying the puck up the ice to help create some offense, he can be depended upon.
After being a surprise invite to USA Hockey’s training camp last month, Borgen secured a spot on the U20 team and has been making the best of the opportunity.
On a team filled with stars such as Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk, he’s settled into his own role. Through six games in Helsinki, he’s tallied three assists and has played solid in all three zones.
His time at Sabres development camp appears to have had a positive impact on his game.
When asked about the experience, he had high praise for the Buffalo Sabres fans.
“The Sabres development camp was a lot of fun with 17,000 fans at the scrimmage,” said Borgen. “That was pretty crazy; it was a great time.”
He also used the time to acquaint himself with fellow defensive prospects.
“I hung out with Brendan Guhle and Ivan Chukarov quite a bit during development camp,” said Borgen.
Given the play of each defenseman, Guhle and Borgen appear to be rubbing off on each other, as each has impressed and increased their stock.
As for what’s next for the young American defenseman, Borgen said, “it’d be a dream to play in front of those Sabres fans for real someday.”
As an American based in Amsterdam, Joe provides a unique hockey insight, bringing a global perspective to the game. Joe has several years of experience covering the game on both a domestic and international level, including being credentialed for multiple World and World Junior Championships.