The Buffalo Sabres are likely going to finish out the year without new addition Chris Stewart in the lineup. With little over a month to play in the regular season – Buffalo Sabres head coach Ted Nolan says that his injury will keep him out of the lineup for four to five weeks.
Where does that leave the Buffalo Sabres? With the season all but over for the blue and gold, there is only one option for the team and Stewart, let him take the rest of the season off. There is no point in rushing a player back from injury in this situation. If Buffalo was pushing for a playoff spot and a run into summer hockey, then Chris Stewart would likely be missed from the lineup.
Stewart was performing well for the St. Louis Blues, with 15 goals and 11 helpers through 58 games with the Blues. Christ Stewart also has a 28 goal season under his belt. It is highly unlikely that he will replicate those numbers in a Buffalo sweater, given those points were earned with one of the leagues best teams.
Coming over in the Ryan Miller/Steve Ott trade, there is still value left in Chris Stewart for the Buffalo Sabres. Under contract for next year, the Sabres can either choose to build with Chris Stewart, or trade him away during the course of next season, to continue helping with the rebuild by stockpiling picks. Off course at some point Tim Murray will have to stop trading away every asset and start resigning some of the players on expiring contracts.
What does it mean for the Buffalo Sabres this season – not a whole hell of a lot other than it will force the team to tap into the reserve that they call the Rochester Americans – a team that Tim Murray, general manager of the Buffalo Sabres wants to see success at, because success in the American Hockey League will translate into success for his club.
Buffalo ends their season on April 13th with a home game against the New York Islanders. Not all players are eligible for a down grade, but you can be certain that the Sabres will flood the Americans with what ever players they can with the hopes of finally getting out of the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
Rochester plays three more games after the Sabres season ends, the Amerks are current sixth in the Western Conference, but could still go down in the standings. but are also only four points back of the division leading Toronto Marlies.