The Buffalo Sabres are going to have a goaltending tandem of Aaron Dell and Michael Houser for a while. The team has signed the latter to a new one-year contract worth $750K at the NHL level, after announcing that Malcolm Subban, Dustin Tokarski, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are all out at least on a week-to-week basis. Subban will be even longer than that, as he’s listed month-to-month with an upper-body injury. Craig Anderson remains out month-to-month as well.
Houser, 29, was in a similar situation last season when he signed a one-year, league-minimum deal with the Sabres on March 19 to provide some emergency cover. The organization has refused to add more NHL depth to the position and now will be stuck once again with a netminder who has spent more time in the ECHL than the AHL.
Over a long mostly minor league career, Houser has made 213 appearances in the ECHL, 88 in the AHL, and four in the NHL. His save percentages at all three are above .900, but it’s hard to believe he could really carry the load for the Sabres and have them stay competitive in the tough Atlantic Division.
Dell meanwhile has also been recalled from the AHL, while Jack Quinn and Casey Fitzgerald were sent back to Rochester. The 32-year-old veteran netminder has been brutal this season during his time in Buffalo, posting an .872 save percentage and 4.52 goals-against-average. He’s been better in the AHL, but his time in the NHL appears to be running out.
The Sabres, now 10-19-6 on the season, have lost six straight and now own a -33 goal differential.