The Buffalo Sabres are on the outside of the playoff picture and dealing with the fallout from a 5-2 loss from last night’s game against the Ottawa Senators. During the game, Linus Ullmark left the Buffalo net with an apparent non-contact injury, leaving Carter Hutton to finish out the contest. Today, the Sabres have announced that Ullmark will miss approximately three to four weeks with that lower-body injury. That news actually may come with a few sighs of relief, given how disastrous the injury looked last night. Jonas Johansson has been recalled from the Rochester Americans.
Without Ullmark, who has taken over the starting role in Buffalo, the Sabres are facing a tough climb the rest of the way. The team now sits 22-21-7 on the year and ten points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. There are also two other teams between them and the eighth-place Carolina Hurricanes, while two more are right on their heels.
For GM Jason Botterill, who said just yesterday that his team was still looking to add to their forward group, Ullmark’s injury could complicate the matter. Throwing away points like last night against a weak Ottawa team is going to make a playoff climb impossible, and he may be better selling off some of his expiring assets instead of pushing for the postseason.
It will be interesting to see if the team gives Johansson a chance, given his success in the minor leagues. The 24-year old has a .925 save percentage for the Americans this year, going 13-3-3 in 20 appearances. The third-round pick has not yet seen any NHL action, but with Hutton’s struggles this season it might be time to give him a chance.