Buffalo Sabres Roster: The Depth Players


So, the page has been turned. The past is in the past and the new-look Buffalo Sabres are ready to start making strides to becoming a force in the Eastern Conference. Whatever made the Buffalo Sabres atrocious the past two seasons, whether it be lack of skill, chemistry, or coaching, one thing is certain; the Sabres have suffered even more due to the amount of injuries they pile up.

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Injuries are part of hockey. There is no avoiding them, but it has seemed as if the Sabres were always losing players. A lot of these injuries were longer rehabs. First there was the goaltending carousel and then there was seeing half of the Rochester Americans squad in Buffalo that added onto the constant losing.

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Just last year, one hit caused Brian Gionta and Marcus Foligno to miss significant time with injuries. Zemgus Girgensons lost a handful of games after blocking a shot off his ankle. Josh Gorges only played a pinch over half of the season due to various injuries. Heck, Cody McCormick had blood clot that sent him to the hospital for treatment. Luckily, he is doing well and we will likely see him opening night. There are many more instances where the Sabres lost players for at least a few games.

There was only one player that dressed in all 82 games for the Sabres last season; Nicolas Deslauriers.

What happens if the Sabres start piling up the injuries? What if there comes a time where key players are out and the Sabres need to win without them?

The Sabres improved with their depth in a few ways. GM Tim Murray made some nice additions with signing Cal O’Reilly, Jason Akeson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Matt Donovan, and Bobby Sanguinetti to a decent crop of depth players like Chad Ruhwedel, Phil Varone, and Jake McCabe. O’Reilly brings energy and effort to the bottom 6 forward lines, while Akeson is an undersized skill player that can find himself fill in at least in the top 9.

One guy I particularly like is Matt Donovan. He has 67 NHL games under his belt and he tears up the AHL. If he doesn’t make the top-6, look for the University of Denver product to be making plenty of trips down the thruway to Rochester. Chad Ruhwedel would be a very nice compliment to Donovan if they both end up with the Americans. Ruhwedel could have a breakout season with the Americans this year, especially with a good partner like Donovan.

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  • One of the many tests for the Sabres this season will be: If they have an injury problem, will they fall back into their old ways of the past two seasons?

    My opinion is that they won’t. There might be some hiccups when players are called up because of the vast changes in Buffalo recently, but I’m confident depth players will be brought in and utilized properly by Dan Bylsma.

    The days of seeing players called up that look completely out of place are over. Injury bugs hit teams and it seems like the Sabres get extra doses at times, but Tim Murray has done a decent job in a short amount of time finding players that can be called upon to fill in (having already inherited Ruhwedel, McCabe, and Varone).

    When these players get called up, they could see their time in the minors dwindle and end. It happens in sports all of the time. A player goes out with an injury and their replacement comes in and performs very well. I would not be shocked if this is what happened to Jake McCabe this year.

    The scenarios are endless for this upcoming season, but there will always be call-ups and this is where the decisions of Tim Murray will be under a microscope. Buckle up, Buffalo. The season is just around the corner.

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