Veteran defenseman Matt Bartkowski has found a new home, at least for now. The Rochester Americans announced they’ve signed Bartkowski to an AHL PTO. The team expects Bartkowski to meet them for today’s game in Laval against the Rocket. Rochester is the AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.
The addition of Bartkowski appears to be the result of a chain reaction in the Sabres organization after a rash of injuries on Buffalo’s blueline. When the Sabres lost defensemen Henri Jokiharju and Mattias Samuelsson in short order last weekend, the team recalled fellow defensemen Lawrence Pilut and Kale Clague from Rochester. Of course, that helped to repair the Sabres’ ailing defense-corps, but served to dismantle Rochester’s, stealing two of their best defenders. The Americans initially responded by recalling Zachary Berzolla from the ECHL, and earlier this week added another NHL veteran in Brandon Davidson on an AHL PTO.
A veteran of 256 career NHL games, Bartkowski last played in the NHL back in 2020-21, dressing for just one game with the Minnesota Wild. The 34-year-old hasn’t seen even semi-regular NHL time since he played 18 games as a member of the Calgary Flames all the way back in 2017-18. The defenseman did have some NHL interest this summer coming off of two exceptional AHL seasons with the Iowa Wild and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, signing a PTO with the New York Rangers back in September, who ultimately released him from that tryout. Bringing Bartkowski in should give the Americans a healthy, veteran presence to help patch the holes not only on their own blueline, but that of the entire NHL-AHL-ECHL organization.