With Drew Stafford joining Cody Hodgson and Ville Leino on the injury list, the Buffalo Sabres had little choice other than acquiring someone off waivers or via trade. Today the Buffalo Sabres claimed Zenon Konopka off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) January 3, 2014
The only player available for call up from the Rochester Americans was forward Phil Varone and thus the Sabres were forced to find other short term options. This is the second waiver claim by the Buffalo Sabres this season.
Zenon Konopka is an un-drafted player who worked his way into the NHL after three gruelling season’s in the ECHL and AHL. The Anaheim Ducks gave him his first chance in the NHL during the 2005-2006 season and Konopka played in 23 games putting up 7 points. Since his NHL debut, Konopka has laced up for over 287 games split between 6 different NHL teams.
This season Konopka has played in 36 NHL games with the Minnesota Wild putting up just 2 points while racking up 55 penalty minutes. Konopka will likely fill a role on the third or fourth line with the Sabres as he plays a more gritty game much like Patrick Kaleta. He won’t score many jaw dropping goals, but much like Matt Ellis and Brian Flynn, he will provide you with hard work night in and night out.
The Buffalo Sabres need able bodies up front and with Konopka hitting waivers today, this move was forecasted last night when Stafford went down. Sabres needed bodies so Konopka will be given an opportunity to play.
Despite being mostly a fighter and more of a grinder, Konopka is a guy who can win face-offs and the Sabres need someone who can win draws as their centre’s haven’t been able to get the job done at the dot. Zenon Konopka is a player who fans can easily fall in love with. He is a hard working player who plays the game all out and wear’s his heart on his sleeve, much like Kaleta and Steve Ott. Konopka will add character to the Sabres roster as they head into the second half of the season.