Buffalo Sabres fans held their breath last night when freshly extended defenseman Mattias Samuelsson went down with an injury in their game against Vancouver. Now, The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski reports that Samuelsson avoided a long-term injury but is still set to miss at least “a few weeks,” joining Henri Jokiharju on the list of injured Sabres top-four defensemen.
An exact timeline won’t be had on Samuelsson until the team returns to Buffalo, head coach Don Granato said today, and the injury will force some depth defenders to shine in order for Buffalo to keep up its strong start. Lawrence Pilut will make his season debut in the team’s next game after two seasons overseas, and free-agent acquisition Ilya Lyubushkin will be tasked with replacing Samuelsson as the defensive anchor on the top pairing alongside the red-hot Rasmus Dahlin.
- It’s no secret the Canucks are in trouble, winless so far to start the year. With injuries and general positional depth weakness hampering their defense, the team has been looking to add, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on 32 Thoughts that the team has checked in on defenseman Ethan Bear as a potential trade acquisition. Bear, the 25-year-old right-shot defenseman, has been thrust down the depth chart in Carolina and has yet to appear in a game this season. The Hurricanes were shopping him prior to the season’s start, and the Canucks have more than enough room thanks to LTIR to accommodate his $2.2MM cap hit. He still has some upside and could provide some better matchups once Quinn Hughes returns to the lineup.
- Sportsnet’s Jason Bukala ponders whether the Seattle Kraken may opt to send Shane Wright back to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs after an unimpactful start to the season. Wright hasn’t received many opportunities, he has shown smooth skating and pace, but Bukala points out that Wright’s had some positional issues defensively and may need a bit more development before being able to execute his playstyle properly at the NHL level.