The Buffalo Sabres have recalled a few young players from the AHL . . . but why?
The Buffalo Sabres made some changes to their roster this week, recalling defenseman Brendan Guhle and goaltender Linus Ullmark from the Rochester Americans on Monday.
Many fans are happy to get a chance to watch Guhle log some ice at the NHL level, and the kid did pretty well Tuesday evening against the Winnipeg jets, finishing the night with three shots, a +/- rating of 0, and 1:16 worth of time on the power play during his 17:45 minutes of ice time.
Of course, at the end of the night, the Sabres had lost 7-4, extending their current losing streak to 0-4-1 and dropping their record to 10-24-9. Which brings up the question, why bother subjecting Guhle to this nonsense in the first place?
Sure, Guhle has earned a shot at the NHL level. Before he left Rochester, he led the Amerks in SOG (91) and was fifth on the team in points (20). As a result, the Amerks start today sitting in second place in the AHL Eastern Conference, just two points behind the Toronto Marlies. Overall, Rochester is third in the entire league, with only the Manitoba Moose and the Marlies ahead of them. There will almost certainly be playoff hockey in Rochester come April . . . but for now it appears as if the Amerks will now have to finish the season, at least, without Guhle.
Please explain how this helps the Buffalo Sabres down the road. The Amerks are enjoying success, having fun, and will play playoff hockey this season – three things we will definitely NOT see in Buffalo at any point from now until April. Do the Sabres and GM Jason Botterill have a “tough love” mentality with their prospects? Because promoting Guhle to the NHL right now seems more like a punishment than a reward. The kid is going to spend the remainder of his time in Buffalo listening to his coach lambast the team’s effort, as Housely did last night; listen to the players admit they need to be better, as both Jack Eichel and Robin Lehner did last night; and read the media and the fans take the team to task night and night again, as every sports reporter and fan on social media did last night.
And it’s not just Guhle who is getting the tough love treatment. Depending on how long Guhle stays in Buffalo, the Amerks may have to spend the back half of their season fighting for playoff position without their best blue liner. That certainly won’t help their chances of earning a high seed in the playoff race, which could lead to an early exit once the Calder Cup Playoffs begin.
What’s the point? The Buffalo Sabres are certainly not going to turn this season around, and it is pretty evident that Brendan Guhle will have a more positive learning experience in the AHL than he will with the Sabres. When the buy week swings around, the Sabres should send him back and let him learn what it means to win professional hockey games.