The Buffalo Sabres will likely be down another goaltender for the next few days, as Aaron Dell has a hearing scheduled today with the Department of Player Safety. The hearing will be regarding Dell’s interference on Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson last night, a play that led to a serious injury.
Late in the first period, after Dell had let in three goals on 11 shots, he delivered a shoulder check to Batherson as the Ottawa forward chased a Buffalo defenseman around the net. It ended up sending him awkwardly into the boards, where he suffered a high ankle sprain. Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reports that the team will have a better idea of the recovery timeline once the swelling goes down, but “one way or another it’s long-term.” There was no penalty called on the play.
Batherson has been Ottawa’s best offensive player this season, recording 13 goals and 34 points in 31 games. The 23-year-old uses his speed, size, and skill to routinely hunt down pucks in the offensive zone with a relentless forecheck, before driving them to the net or creating an opportunity for a teammate. One of the most important players in Ottawa, he now faces a long recovery.
Dell meanwhile has been brutal for the Sabres, posting a .893 save percentage in 12 appearances, losing nine of them. The veteran netminder was not expected to be pressed into service, but Buffalo has suffered injuries to as many as four of their goaltenders at the same time. Should he face a suspension, there will be even less depth at the position for Buffalo.