- It doesn’t appear like Zach Bogosian will be suiting up for the Sabres anytime soon. Head coach Phil Housley told John Vogl of the Buffalo News that the blueliner remains week-to-week and that “As we look further into it, we’ll have more information as we move forward”. Considering that Bogosian’s lower-body issue that was sustained at the end of the preseason was classified as a day-to-day issue for more than two weeks, Housley’s comments suggest that the 27-year-old will be out of the lineup for a while yet.
After it was announced yesterday that the Buffalo Sabres would be without Jacob Josefson for weeks, the team has placed him on injured reserve. In his absence, the Sabres recalled Taylor Fedun from Rochester to serve as another option on defense. Josh Gorges was also missing from practice today, leaving the team with just six healthy defensemen prior to Fedun’s promotion.
The 29-year old Fedun actually played 27 games for the Sabres last season, recording seven points and 16 penalty minutes. The undrafted Princeton grad has carved out quite the professional career for himself, as a big part of several AHL teams. He’s bred from the new NHL, relying on his mobility more than strength to help him at both ends of the rink.
Buffalo knew that he’d be one of their first recalls in case of injury, signing him to a new two-year, two-way contract just before he hit free agency. While he’s unlikely to make much of a full-time impact for the Sabres, knowing that they can call him up to jump into the lineup provides a nice amount of depth. He will however need to clear waivers to go back down to Rochester once Gorges or Justin Falk get healthy.
The Colorado Avalanche have sent Andrei Mironov to the San Antonio Rampage on a conditioning stint according to Igor Eronko of Sport-Express. Mironov has been a healthy scratch for the Avalanche since the first game of the season, but as Mike Chambers wrote Tuesday for the Denver Post, was becoming acclimated to North America with the help of the other Colorado Russian-born players.
Now, he’ll have to fend for himself so to speak in the minor leagues as he tries to learn the defensive game on smaller rinks. Mironov was drafted in the fourth round a few years ago, but has shown solid upside as a potential shutdown defender. After playing five seasons in the KHL, Mironov signed with the Avalanche this spring to start his North American career.
- Trevor van Riemsdyk has been activated as expected by the Carolina Hurricanes after recovering from a concussion suffered in the season-opener. The team had experimented with Trevor Carrick, but will likely plug van Riemsdyk back into the lineup tonight against the Calgary Flames. They had been carrying just six defensemen after sending Carrick back to the AHL, meaning there will be no corresponding move necessary.
- Evgeny Svechnikov is also healthy after an injury held him out of the first part of the season. The difference is that Svechnikov has been sent to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins to begin his season, not quite ready for the NHL just yet. Svechnikov made his NHL debut last season when he got into two games for the Detroit Red Wings, but was instrumental in the Griffins’ Calder Cup victory. In 93 total minor league games last year, the first-round pick scored 63 points. He’ll likely make it up to the NHL before long if he shows he’s healthy.
- When the Buffalo Sabres brought in Jason Botterill as GM this summer, he promised that more emphasis would be placed on the Rochester Americans and their success. The organization has made another move to try and beef up the Amerks, bringing Stuart Percy in on a professional tryout. Percy was a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2011, and has found solid success in the minor leagues previously. The Buffalo GM is intimately familiar with his game, as he played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last year, who Botterill ran for the Pittsburgh organization.
- The Vegas Golden Knights have completed another goalie transaction, flipping Maxime Lagace for Oscar Dansk according to our friends at Roster Resource. Lagace didn’t get into a game as Malcolm Subban has taken the reins in Vegas, and this move likely allows both goaltenders to stay fresh.
Injury news out of Buffalo today has Sabres’ forward Jacob Josefson out “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury sustained on Sunday. Josefson had been held scoreless through the first six games, but had been a key penalty killer for the team. The 26-year old signed a one-year, $700K contract with the Sabres this summer after not receiving a qualifying offer from the New Jersey Devils, and is looking to prove that he can be an effective bottom-six player for the team long-term.
Week-to-week doesn’t instill confidence that he’ll be back anytime soon, so the Sabres will have to find another way to fill out their forward group. Today at practice Sam Reinhart was back at center, with Justin Bailey jumping up beside Ryan O’Reilly on the second line. The Sabres are looking for some answer to their early season struggles as they take on Vancouver tomorrow night.
The Buffalo Sabres may only be five games into the season, but they are already in a must-win situation with only one point to show for their efforts. Buffalo is tied with Arizona for the worst record in the league at 0-4-1 and for the worst goal differential at -11. It’s also been a top-heavy effort, with 20 of the 28 player points so far coming from just three players: Jack Eichel, Evander Kane, and Jason Pominville. It’s clear that Buffalo needs balance and they need talent if they are to go anywhere in 2017-18.
Looking for that spark, the Sabres have announced this morning that they have recalled young forward Justin Bailey from the AHL’s Rochester Americans. The 22-year-old was a 2013 second-round pick and at 6’4″, 214-lbs., has grown into a physical, power forward. In 40 NHL games over the past two seasons, Bailey has only recorded four points, but down in the minors he has continued to be a proven goal-scorer just as he was in the OHL. With little reason to not play any promising, young players, it appears now could finally be the time for Bailey to stick in Buffalo. The team is in dire need of energy and ability, both of which Bailey has in spades. While Kane and, to some extent, Zemgus Girgensons both play a power forward game, the Sabres lost a ton of physicality in the off-season departures of Marcus Foligno and William Carrier. The top-nine needs another big body who can crash the net and make things happen. If Bailey is ready to step up at the highest level, he is well-suited to fill that role and could develop into a key piece of the Sabres’ 2017-18 campaign.
The down side to Bailey’s promotion is that it is due to the opening of a roster spot. The Sabres have additionally placed defenseman Zach Bogosian on the injured reserve. Bogosian has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury suffered in the preseason and doesn’t appear to be returning any time soon. A very capable defenseman who provides a boost to any lineup, Bogosian unfortunately is simply not in the lineup enough. The 26-year-old blue liner has not played more than 65 games in a season since he was a teenager with the Atlanta Thrashers. In 2016-17, he suited up for just 56 games and posted a career-low 11 points. Bailey might be a big help for the Sabres, but they also need a healthy, effective Bogosian if they want to maximize their production this season.
- Although he has missed nearly two weeks now due a lower-body injury sustained at the end of the preseason, the Sabres continue to classify blueliner Zach Bogosian as out day-to-day, reports Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald. However, he’s not expected to accompany the team on their four-game Western road trip which would suggest he’ll be out for at least another week.
The Buffalo Sabres have struggled mightily through the first few games of the 2017-18 season, and head coach Phil Housley has already decided to shake things up. The team had a distinctly different look at practice today, with Zemgus Girgensons moving up to the first line with Jack Eichel, and Sam Reinhart moving back to the wing.
The team had hoped Reinhart would take the center position and run with it this year, now entering his third full season in the league. The 21-year old has won just seven of twenty faceoffs in the first three games, and finds himself a -6 on the year already. For now, he’ll skate beside Johan Larsson and try to prove that he can be relied upon at both ends of the rink.
- The New Jersey Devils will have Kyle Palmieri back in the lineup tonight when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, lengthening out their already impressive lineup. The Devils have been much better than anticipated to start the year, with players like Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt making immediate impacts. Palmieri will jump back on the top line with Pavel Zacha and Taylor Hall, pushing everyone else down a peg. The Devils are 2-0 in the young season, but will have to contend with Toronto’s firepower tonight in a battle of unbeaten teams.
- Last, but certainly not least, Jaromir Jagr is set to make his Calgary Flames debut according to John Shannon of Sportsnet. Jagr took some time to get accustomed to the Flames system after signing just before the season began, but will now jump into game action against the Los Angeles Kings. The Flames, considered contenders in the Western Conference, are off to a 2-1 start but have scored just eight goals in three games. Jagr’s addition should spark the offense some, and make the Flames a tough team to matchup against.
The Buffalo Sabres were blown out by the New Jersey Devils today 6-2, booed off the ice by their home fans. Still, Evander Kane was able to score twice and generally looked like one of the most dangerous players on the ice. While the Sabres may have their fair share of troubles this season, Kane remains one of the most promising power forwards in the league, capable of a 30-goal season at any time.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Sabres then will be where Kane’s future lies. The 26-year old is in his final season before unrestricted free agency, and would enter the market as one of the very top options available. Kane has been involved in trade rumors for nearly his whole Buffalo career, especially last summer before he put up another solid season. In 2016-17, Kane scored 28 goals and showed that he could score in a variety of manners. Teams around the league would pay a hefty ransom for a player like that, even if he does come with some off-ice concerns.
So, what will the Sabres do with him? The new regime, led by GM Jason Botterill could certainly lock him up to a long-term deal and have him ride shotgun with Jack Eichel for the next several years, but his true value could lie on the trade market. If the team is out of the race by the trade deadline, he could command a steep price from a contender looking for a piece to put them over the top. Adding a potential 30-goal forward, who you could possibly get under contract down the stretch would be worth several important pieces and could set up the Sabres for more long-term success. If they’re in the race though, how can they justify trading one of their best offensive weapons?
Below is a poll asking whether you think Kane will finish the season as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. If you vote yes, explain in the comments if you believe he’ll get an extension with the Sabres to stay long-term. If no, tell us where you think he’ll be traded and for what kind of package.
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With the NHL season now underway, we continue our look at what each team has done this summer and what to watch for in 2017-18. Next up in our team-by-team primers is the Buffalo Sabres.
Last Season: 33-37-12 record (78 points), eighth in Atlantic Division (missed the playoffs)
Remaining Cap Space: $5.88MM per CapFriendly
Key Additions: D Victor Antipin (Magnitogorsk, KHL), D Nathan Beaulieu (trade, Montreal), F Seth Griffith (free agency, Toronto), G Chad Johnson (free agency, Arizona), F Jacob Josefson (free agency, New Jersey), F Jordan Nolan (waivers, Los Angeles), F Jason Pominville (trade, Minnesota), F Benoit Pouliot (free agency, Edmonton), D Marco Scandella (trade, Minnesota), D Matt Tennyson (free agency, Carolina)
Key Departures: F William Carrier (expansion, Vegas), F Tyler Ennis (trade, Minnesota), F Marcus Foligno (trade, Minnesota), D Cody Franson (free agency, Chicago), F Brian Gionta (free agency, unsigned), D Dmitry Kulikov (free agency, Winnipeg), G Anders Nilsson (free agency, Vancouver)
[Related: Sabres Depth Chart From Roster Resource]
Player To Watch: F Evander Kane – Kane has been a player who has tantalized at times and mystified at others (and not for the best of reasons). When he’s on, he is among the more dominant power forwards in the league but when he’s off, he can be really off. Add to that the fact that he has had some off-ice issues in the past and you have a player who has garnered a lot of attention over the years.
Kane now finds himself in a contract year. Will that be enough to sufficiently motivate him to play at his best for an entire season? If so, not only will he benefit with another big payday in the months to come but the Sabres will be that much stronger of a team with another dominant player to play alongside Jack Eichel.
On the flip side, if his mercurialness continues, Kane’s name is certain to come up in trade speculation, especially if Buffalo is on the outside of the playoffs looking in as it will be fair to question if they will want to commit to the 26-year-old long-term. Given what he can do when he is on his game, Kane will undoubtedly garner a lot of interest should he be made available.
Key Storyline: Turnover was the theme of the offseason in Buffalo. Not only did they bring in a new GM in Jason Botterill, they also replaced Dan Bylsma with rookie head coach Phil Housley. And on top of that, half of their lineup on opening night wasn’t with the team when the season ended back in April. That’s a lot of changes in a short period of time.
The big question here, naturally, is how will everything come together? If the players adapt quickly to Housley’s more up-tempo system, the Sabres have the firepower to stay in the thick of the playoff race. Botterill handed goaltender Robin Lehner another short-term ‘prove it’ contract and when he’s on, he’s a quality NHL starter.
If they struggle though, they could be a team to watch for on the trade market. Of the 13 forwards on their opening roster, only three are signed beyond next season so with that many short-term and expiring contracts so there is still potential for even more turnover beyond the changes that have already been made.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The NHL season is underway. NHL (and AHL) camps have shaken out and the final AHL signings of the off-season are filing in, as well as early season NHL adjustments. Here are some minor transactions from across the minors today:
- The Ottawa Senators have recalled defenseman Ben Harpur from their newly relocated affiliate, the Belleville Senators, the team announced. Harpur played in six regular season games for the Sens last season, but suited up for an additional nine playoff games and was given substantial ice time. However, with the off-season addition of Johnny Oduya, Harpur was pushed from the top seven on the organizational depth chart. In fact, many would say that Harpur is actually the second-to-next-man-up, behind star prospect Thomas Chabot, but in their first promotion of the season – with Oduya dealing with a lower-body injury and captain Erik Karlsson still sidelined – Ottawa chose Harpur instead.
- Back in Binghamton, the former home of the AHL Senators, new tenants the Devils, New Jersey’s former Albany affiliate, has made a couple notable moves of their own. The team announced today that they have brought in a pair of NHL veterans, inking forward Tim Kennedy to a one-year deal and signing defenseman Tim Erixon to a PTO. Kennedy, a 31-year-old journeyman forward who last played in the NHL in 2013-14, scored 29 points in 37 games for the divisional rival Rochester Americans in 2016-17. Erixon, a 2009 first-round pick, was one of many AHL veterans to man the blue line for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ affiliate in Wilke-Barre/Scranton last season. The 26-year-old is solid, if not unspectacular, but stands a good chance of earning a contract for the Devils, who lack minor league depth on the blue line.
- The Stockton Heat, affiliate to the Calgary Flames, have added a pair of experienced defenseman to their own blue line, announcing the signings of Cody Goloubef and Colby Robak. Goloubef is particularly interesting as he played 33 games for the Colorado Avalanche last season and was a late camp cut by the Buffalo Sabres, performing well on a PTO. Goloubef is a major boost for Stockton, but he will certainly keep an eye out for NHL opportunities as the 2017-18 season progresses. Meanwhile, Robak has not played in the NHL since 2014-15 and hasn’t played a meaningful big league role since early in 2013-14 with the Florida Panthers. Yet, Robak continues plugging along and had a strong AHL season in 2016-17, one spent mostly with the Utica Comets but which began with the Stockton Heat. The team seemingly saw enough to bring him back.
- The Hershey Bears signed forward Jeremy Langlois to a one-year AHL deal today, as reported by the ever-popular Washington Capitals affiliate. The hard-working forward from Tempe, Arizona is trying to get back to the NHL after a one-year deal with the San Jose Sharks in 2015-16 was spent entirely in the AHL. The Quinnipiac alum was an undrafted free agent that first impressed with big numbers in the ECHL and then the AHL, with the Sharks then-affiliate in Worcester, earning him an entry-level deal and a major role on the re-located Barracuda squad two years ago. However, he was unqualified and signed with the Rockford Ice Hogs in 2016-17, where his offense steeply declined. Langlois will look for a fresh start in Hershey this season.