67's Mancari hopes to wow Sabres at camp

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 3:35 PM ET

Mark Mancari isn't ruling out playing for the 67's as an overager during the upcoming OHL season.

But it's not what he's hoping for. The 20-year-old right winger, one of the 67's top scorers during last season's improbable playoff run and a trip to the Memorial Cup, will attend Buffalo Sabres training camp.

Mancari, who has not been signed by the Sabres, wants to show Buffalo brass that he can earn a spot with the team's AHL affiliate in Rochester.

"The plan is to go there and then we'll wait and see what happens," said Mancari from his parents' home in London, Ont., yesterday.

7-ROUND PICK

"I'm not ruling anything out, and I could return to Ottawa, but that's a last-case scenario," he said. "My goal now is to play in the American league."

The Sabres selected Mancari in the seventh round of the 2004 draft.

He scored 36 goals in 68 games during the regular season for Ottawa last year before leading the club in scoring during the OHL playoffs with 14 goals in 21 games.

FREE-AGENT TRYOUT

Mancari is one of five players who could return to the 67's for an overage season, along with goalie Danny Battochio, right winger Chris Hulit, centre Julian Talbot and defenceman Nick Van Herpt.

The 67's are permitted to carry only three overagers, so there's not room for all of them.

Battochio, the 67's MVP last season, has been offered a tryout with the Chicago Blackhawks. Hulit, who joined the club in mid-season after a trade with Oshawa and scored 19 goals and 47 points in 43 games in Ottawa, received an invitation as a free agent to camp by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Hulit will be with the 67's when training camp begins at the Civic Centre on Sept. 1, but will depart for the NHL camp a few days later.

67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea said Talbot will be with the 67's through camp.

Van Herpt, acquired at the start of last season as a reserve defenceman, would likely be the odd-man out in the overage picture.

He wants to play in the OHL this season, and Kilrea is looking to make a deal so he can play for another team.

IN THE CREASE: F Matt Lahey, Ottawa's top pick in the 2004 OHL draft, won't join the 67's until November after having knee surgery ... Kilrea said yesterday the team's European draft picks -- D Jakub Vojta and LW Tibor Radulay -- will be with the club when camp opens.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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