Mon. Sep 29, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Pysyk will be sidelined for one more week with an upper body injury.
Impact: Pysyk will be out for one more week after sustaining an upper body injury last Tuesday against Carolina. The smooth-skating defenseman is fighting for a roster spot and the injury certainly hurts his chances, but the Sabres will give him an opportunity to prove himself once he returns.
Mikhail Grigorenko - #25 - Center - 6'3" - 200lbs
News: Grigorenko scored in regulation and in the shootout in a 3-2 preseason loss to the Leafs on Sunday.
Impact: Grigorenko led all forwards with 24:56 of ice time and won 48 percent of his faceoffs. The talented Russian is having a good camp and turned in a fantastic performance against Toronto, pulling off "The Forsberg" shootout move against Jonathan Bernier. Though Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons are penciled in as the team's top two centers, Grigorenko's strong play could make the coaches think twice. However, Grigorenko doesn't have to clear waivers to be sent down to Rochester, which is something to keep in mind as well.
Johan Larsson - #22 - Left Wing - 5'10" - 200lbs
News: Larsson left Sunday's exhibition game with an injury and did not return.
Impact: The Sabres did not disclose what type of injury Larsson is dealing with, but he left the ice after being elbowed in the face. Larsson is considered day-to-day. Like Patrick Kaleta (upper body), both are fighting for roster spots but both are injured.
News: Kaleta left Sunday's exhibition game with an injury and will not return.
Impact: The Sabres did not disclose what type of injury Kaleta is dealing with, but he skated off after being struck on his face by a puck. His status is considered day-to-day. Kaleta is fighting for a roster spot but has thus far performed admirably after a demotion to the AHL last year.
Luke Adam - #72 - Center - 6'2" - 206lbs
News: Adam was placed on waivers Saturday, a day after being assigned to Rochester, reports John Vogl of The Buffalo News.
Impact: Teams have until Monday to make a claim for Adam since he was placed on waivers over the weekend. The raw power forward didn't have a good camp after being re-signed to a one-year deal over the summer. There is a chance he will be claimed by another team. The Sabres lost Corey Tropp on waivers to Columbus last year. However, a change of scenery might benefit Adam.
Joel Armia - #33 - Right Wing - 6'3" - 192lbs
News: Head coach Ted Nolan says Armia will play Sunday, reports the Olean Times Herald.
Impact: The Sabres played veteran-laden teams in their past two exhibition games and will play youngsters Sunday in a re-match against the Leafs. The talented Finnish sniper is not expected to make the team but should be able to showcase some of his game-breaking talent nonetheless. He's a guy to keep an eye on in keeper leagues.
News: Neuvirth stopped just 16 shots in Friday's 6-4 loss to Toronto.
Impact: How do you say "laid an egg" in Czech? Neuvirth is fighting for the No. 1 job in Buffalo but allowed six goals on just 22 shots in the loss. This, compared to the competition, Jhonas Enroth, who posted a 2-0 shutout in his preseason start. The Sabres defense wasn't flawless but Neuvirth wasn't sharp either, allowing several soft goals during the game. He also didn't look particularly quick or fast, compared to his normal level of play, and you have to wonder if the hip injury suffered in March is still bugging him. Enroth is clearly ahead for the starting job right now.
Jake McCabe - #29 - Defense - 6'0" - 195lbs
News: McCabe scored a goal and played 23:16 in Friday's 6-4 loss to Toronto.
Impact: It was a classic McCabe play. After gathering a bouncing puck off a broken breakout by the Leafs, McCabe calmly skated towards the goal, settled the puck, toe-dragged an on-his-knees Petter Granberg, and sniped it top shelf right under the crossbar over James Reimer's left shoulder. McCabe's offensive instincts and wrist shot are some of his strengths and also led the team in time on ice. He is obviously impressing the coaching staff despite coming into camp with just seven games of pro experience. The 20-year-old defenseman is on track to crack Buffalo's lineup. He could also feature on Buffalo's second power play unit.
Philip Varone - #84 - Center - 5'10" - 185lbs
News: Varone was one of 11 cuts made by the Sabres on Friday.
Impact: Varone was a long-shot to make the roster and will return to Rochester for the season, where he will be one of the team's go-to forwards. Varone is an aggressive player who can score on a consistent basis but is often held back by his size.
Luke Adam - #72 - Center - 6'2" - 206lbs
News: Adam was one of 11 players cut by the Sabres on Friday.
Impact: Unless Adam puts together an exceptional season, this could very well be his last season with Buffalo. The second-round pick from 2008 has size, strength and goal-scoring skill, but still hasn't been able to put it all together. His inconsistency is maddening. Adam signed a one-year extension over the summer and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the contract, but with the Sabres' deep pool of prospects they may not retain his rights. Adam has scored 44 goals in the AHL over the past two years but has just two goals in 16 games for the Sabres during that time.
Chad Ruhwedel - #5 - Defense - 5'11" - 181lbs
News: Ruhwedel was one of 11 cuts the Sabres made on Friday.
Impact: Ruhwedel was in a training camp battle for a spot on the team's third pairing but ended up being among the Sabres' first cuts. A two-way defensemen who signed as an undrafted player out of UMass-Lowell, Ruhwedel appeared in 21 games for the Sabres and 47 games for Rochester. He was among the Amerks' top defenseman, notching 28 points during the season and five points in five games in the playoffs. The 24-year-old will be among the Sabres' first call-ups should the need arise.
Cody McCormick - #8 - Center - 6'3" - 215lbs
News: Head coach Ted Nolan wants McCormick to drop the gloves a little less often, reports WGR550 SportsRadio.
Impact: McCormick dropped the gloves 11 times last year, three in the preseason and eight during the regular season. He's a gritty player who thrives on physical play, but Nolan believes he can contribute more on the ice rather than sitting for five minutes in the box. McCormick was traded to the Wild but returned to Buffalo in the offseason with a three-year, $4.5 million deal. Fantasy-wise, McCormick's expected dip in fighting majors lessens his value with fewer penalty minutes to gain. His career high of eight goals came four years ago so he isn't really on the fantasy radar.
News: Reinhart will play in his second preseason game against Toronto on Friday, reports John Vogl of The Buffalo News.
Impact: Reinhart will center the second line with Cody Hodgson on the left wing and veteran Brian Gionta on the right side. This is a new look for Reinhart, who opened camp with Marcus Foligno and Chris Stewart as his wingers, earning a temporary promotion to scoring line with Zemgus Girgensons and Mikhail Grigorenko out of the lineup. This added responsibility suggests that the Sabres are confident in Reinhart's abilities and giving him a very long look, since many observers believe the second overall pick from the 2014 draft is ready for the NHL. In all likelihood, the Sabres will keep Reinhart around for the start of the season and use as much time as possible to assess whether or not he can play a full 82-game season. Reinhart made his preseason debut last Sunday, playing 15:08, including 1:44 on the penalty kill, and won 44 percent of his draws.
News: Neuvirth will be the Sabres' starter Friday against Toronto, reports John Vogl of The Buffalo News.
Impact: Neuvirth will have his work cut out for him with Jhonas Enroth posting a shutout in his preseason start. The two are in a battle for the starting job and the Sabres are dressing a veteran-heavy lineup against Toronto, so there will be no excuses for a poor showing. Neuvirth was very good for the Sabres before suffering a hip injury and is looking to continue where he left off. The Sabres are unlikely to name a starter until a few days before their season opener. As of right now, Enroth has the inside track, but a strong performance from Neuvirth at camp can certainly change that.
Justin Bailey - #15 - Right Wing - 6'3" - 186lbs
News: Bailey, the Kitchener Rangers' reigning MVP, was sent back to juniors Friday, reports John Vogl of The Buffalo News.
Impact: It's not a big shocker considering how many spots were open and how deep the Sabres' pool of prospects is. Getting sent back to junior hockey isn't a big deal, but the second-round pick from 2013 heads back to Kitchener without an NHL contract even though fellow 2013 picks Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov and Nick Baptiste have all been signed. The raw power forward still has plenty to work on as he enters his final year of junior eligibility. It's a make-it-or-break-it year for the New York state native.
Tim Schaller - #27 - Center - 6'2" - 210lbs
News: Schaller, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Providence College, will make his preseason debut with the Sabres on Friday, reports The Buffalo News.
Impact: Named the Most Improved Player for AHL Rochester last year, Schaller believes he has the ability to play in the NHL despite being known primarily as a defensive forward. A versatile player who can play left wing or center, Schaller is not expected to be much more than a depth player for the Sabres down the road. He will center Brian Flynn and Cody McCormick on the fourth line against Toronto. He's in an uphill battle to make the roster and will likely head to Rochester for the season to improve on his rookie 11-goal campaign.
Wed. Sep 24, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Pysyk (upper body) will likely be sidelined for one-to-two weeks, John Vogl of The Buffalo News reports.
Impact: While Pysyk was fortunate to avoid a significant injury in Tuesday's exhibition victory over the Hurricanes, the ailment hurts Pysyk's chances of making the team. Though Pysyk played 44 games for the Sabres last year, he was facing tough competition in camp. There is no timetable for Pysyk's return, though head coach Ted Nolan promised that they would be patient and give him a chance to earn a roster spot. Pysyk's absence means Jake McCabe and Chad Ruhwedel get the inside track.
News: Enroth, in his first start of the preseason, shut out Carolina 2-0 on Tuesday.
Impact: Enroth sparkled in his preseason debut, stopping all 35 shots. The Swedish Olympian is in a training camp battle with Michal Neuvirth for the starting job, and now the best Neuvirth can do is match Enroth's shutout performance. Head coach Ted Nolan has been pleased with the team's performance so far. Enroth is a talented goalie, but unfortunately plays on a poor team, which hurts his fantasy value.
Tyler Ennis - #63 - Center - 5'9" - 157lbs
News: Playing on the top line with Matt Moulson and Drew Stafford, Ennis scored a goal and an assist to lead the Sabres past the Hurricanes, 2-0, on Tuesday night.
Impact: Moulson played with Ennis and Stafford prior to being dealt to Minnesota, so it's not like head coach Ted Nolan suddenly found the magic formula, but it's encouraging for the Sabres to see their top line clicking so early. Ennis re-signed with the Sabres for $23 million over the summer, and despite his size, will be deployed as the team's No. 1 center this year. If the line continues to click, Ennis is bound to best last year's 43-point performance.
News: Sabres coach Ted Nolan said after Tuesday's exhibition that Pysyk (upper body) would be out "for a little while," Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reports.
Impact: It's difficult to ascertain an approximate return date from Nolan's quote, but his words seem to suggest Pysyk is dealing with something more than the run-of-the-mill day-to-day concern. His hopes of cracking the Sabres' 23-man roster might have quite possibly come to an end following the injury setback.
News: Pysyk suffered an upper-body injury in Tuesday's exhibition against the Hurricanes and did not return.
Impact: Pysyk skated for just 54 seconds Tuesday before departing, with no word yet on the severity of his injury. He's competing for a regular spot on one of the Sabres' three defensive pairings, with his hopes likely dashed if the injury proves to be a longer-term concern.
News: The Sabres will start Enroth against Carolina on Tuesday.
Impact: Enroth is battling Michal Neuvirth for the starting job and will get his first challenge Tuesday. Nathan Lieuwen played the full game in the Sabres' first preseason game Sunday, so head coach Ted Nolan might play Enroth for the entire game. A strong performance will help solidify Enroth's case to the Sabres' No. 1 goaltender.
News: Neuvirth is set to battle Jhonas Enroth in training camp for top goaltending duties for the Sabres, John Vogl of the Buffalo News reports.
Impact: Neuvirth, who was acquired by the Capitals at the trade deadline last season, only appeared in two games with his new squad before a hip injury ended his season. He's now fully recovered from the issue, and should see a roughly even workload with Enroth in training camp while the coaching staff looks to proclaim a victor. Both goalies have similar career numbers that would seem to confer neither an advantage, but Enroth's greater longevity in the organization probably makes him the early frontrunner. Even so, Neuvirth shouldn't be written off, particularly because of his familiarity with new goalie coach Arturs Irbe. Under Irbe's watch in Washington in 2010-11, Neuvirth enjoyed the best season of his career, going 27-12-4 with a 2.45 GAA and .914 save percentage. Don't expect the Sabres to announce their No. 1 netminder until late in training camp, with the team possibly waiting up until the morning skate of their Oct. 9 regular season opener against Columbus.
Marcus Foligno - #82 - Left Wing - 6'3" - 226lbs
News: Foligno, who underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason, doesn't appear to be limited in training camp, NHL.com reports.
Impact: Though Foligno suited up for 74 games last season, the shoulder injury seemed to hinder his performance throughout, as he essentially matched his scoring output from the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, despite suiting up for 27 additional games. Foligno is anxious to test out the surgically-repaired shoulder in the preseason, and it should only take a few games for him to settle back into a rhythm. The Sabres showed their faith in Foligno by giving him a two-year extension in the offseason, and with better health entering the season, he'll have a decent shot at emerging as a 30-point scorer for the Sabres.
Nathan Lieuwen - #50 - Goaltender - 6'5" - 189lbs
Sep 21, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Lieuwen will start and possibly play the whole game in the preseason opener Sunday against Washington.
Impact: The Sabres are dressing their two AHL goalies, Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov. Lieuwen, a sixth-round pick, usurped the starting job from Matt Hackett in Rochester last year until a concussion shut Lieuwen down for the season, paving the way for Makarov to finish as Rochester's starter in the playoffs. Lieuwen finished his AHL season with a .922 save percentage and 17 wins in 32 appearances. Interesting to hear that head coach Ted Nolan will likely play Lieuwen the whole game, sending the message loud and clear that each goalie will get a fair shot and a fair look. It's open season in the organization right now as Lieuwen and Makarov vie for the starting job in Rochester while Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth battle for the NHL gig.
Sep 21, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Reinhart will start as the Sabres' top center in Sunday's preseason tilt against Washington.
Impact: Reinhart will draw smooth-skating defenseman-turned-winger Nicolas Deslauriers on his left and Finnish sniper Joel Armia to his right on the top line. This year's No. 2 overall pick is battling for a job with the Sabres out of camp, so keep an eye on his progress.
News: Reinhart will make his Sabres debut Sunday afternoon in Washington, reports The Buffalo News.
Impact: Reinhart will play against the Capitals in his much anticipated debut. The second overall pick from the 2014 NHL Draft is a strong two-way forward who is vying for a roster spot. It is still too early to tell if Reinhart will play for the Sabres for the entire season, but a good performance in the Sabres' first preseason game would help his case.
News: Sabres head coach Ted Nolan believes Enroth can be a starting goalie in the NHL, reports the Olean Times Herald.
Impact: Enroth will battle Michal Neuvirth for the starting job, but if one of them has the edge, it's Enroth. Despite his lack of wins the previous season, Enroth still had a respectable .911 save percentage on the league's worst team and made the Swedish national team for Sochi. He has been Ryan Miller's understudy for the past few seasons, but Neuvirth is also reunited with Arturs Irbe, his goaltending coach in Washington. Nolan will split starts between Enroth and Neuvirth for the time being. The Sabres have six exhibition games this season.
Matt Hackett - #31 - Goaltender - 6'2" - 171lbs
News: Hackett suffered an ACL injury on April 12 and could start skating soon, reports The Buffalo News.
Impact: There is still no return date for Hackett though he is expected to return midway through the season, perhaps in late December or early January. Hackett is coming off a tough season, losing the starting job in the AHL to Nathan Lieuwen. He is in a contract year and faces an uphill climb on a team deep with goaltending prospects. The 24-year-old goalie may not figure into the team's long-term plans. Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth are battling for the NHL job while Andrey Makarov and Lieuwen will handle the duties in the AHL.
Mikhail Grigorenko - #25 - Center - 6'3" - 200lbs
News: Grigorenko will open camp on a line with Joel Armia, reports The Buffalo News.
Impact: Though Grigorenko and Armia represent two of Buffalo's most offensively gifted players, neither can be expected to play with the Sabres this year. Grigorenko is coming off a rough two-year stretch after playing on three separate teams and Armia is coming off a tough rookie season hampered by a wrist injury. The Sabres have more experienced players to rely on for scoring and Brendan Lemieux, the line's third player, is not expected to make the team either. However, Grigorenko and Armia should form a dynamic duo in the AHL, and if both players perform beyond expectations they will both earn call-ups at some point during the season.
Luke Adam - #72 - Center - 6'2" - 206lbs
News: Adam is on the bubble and fighting for a roster spot based on the depth charts published by The Buffalo News.
Impact: Adam will play center on Johan Larsson's left wing and opposite of right winger Zac Dalpe. Dalpe was signed over the summer as additional depth while Larsson is also fighting for a roster spot. Adam returned to the Sabres after signing a one-year extension, but time is running out for the former second-round pick. In 12 games with the Sabres he recorded just one goal and 16 shots. When Adam is on his game, he can be a serviceable power forward, but his consistency has been poor. Adam will need to go through waivers if he is demoted, which provides an extra wrinkle to his situation. Last year, the Sabres waived Corey Tropp, and the same fate could await Adam if he has a poor showing at camp.
Tyler Myers - #57 - Defense - 6'8" - 227lbs
News: Myers will be paired with veteran shutdown defenseman Josh Gorges to begin the training camp, reports The Buffalo News.
Impact: As expected, the mercurial Myers will be paired with the dependable Gorges to begin the season as the Sabres' top pairing. Myers has struggled over the past few seasons since winning the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, and often looks overwhelmed by the amount of pressure placed on him. The 6-foot-8 defenseman has plenty of talent but just hasn't been able to realize it. Hopefully, Gorges will take some pressure off his shoulders and also allow Myers to take more of an offensive role. If all goes well, Myers could be in line for the best season in his rookie year. He is, without a doubt, the Sabres' best defenseman in fantasy, though the team is expected to finish near the bottom of the standings again.
Zemgus Girgensons - #28 - Center - 6'1" - 190lbs
News: One of Buffalo's best players last year, Girgensons is penciled in as the team's second-line center, reports The Buffalo News.
Impact: Head coach Ted Nolan and the rest of the Sabres staff love Girgensons. An excellent two-way player with great wheels, Girgensons was one of Buffalo's more consistent players and was the standout forward for Latvia at the Sochi Olympics. Delivering on their promise to give Girgensons a bigger role, the Sabres are experimenting with him in an offensive role, playing alongside playmaker Cody Hodgson on the left wing and former Habs captain Brian Gionta on the right wing. Girgensons is scratching the surface of his offensive ability after scoring just eight goals in 70 games last year. He's often overlooked because Hodgson and Tyler Ennis are more well-known names in fantasy, but it's possible Girgensons provides better value than both of them this season with faceoff wins and hits, if your league counts them.
News: Reinhart, the second overall pick from the 2014 NHL Draft, will start camp playing between Marcus Foligno and Chris Stewart, reports Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News.
Impact: Reinhart is a strong two-way player with a high hockey IQ, and lining him up between the team's two most physical wingers suggests the trio will be the team's third line. While Reinhart doesn't share Foligno or Stewart's affinity for physical play, if all three perform to expectations it can be a very formidable checking line. Whether the line stays intact remains to be seen, but that Reinhart is already penciled in between two veteran players also suggests that the Sabres may keep the 18-year-old center for the season. Offensively, Reinhart is not considered a player with elite skill, which diminishes his fantasy value in the long run. Mikhail Grigorenko offers more elite skill and Zemgus Girgensons will be ahead of Reinhart on the depth chart.
Rasmus Ristolainen - #55 - Defense - 6'4" - 219lbs
News: Ristolainen reported to training camp at 205 pounds, 25 pounds lighter than he was the previous season, reports John Vogl of The Buffalo News.
Impact: This is good news for the Sabres and Ristolainen, who said he shed some of his baby fat. The 19-year-old defenseman is one of the league's top young players and over a summer of training has increased his footspeed, agility and overall strength. Ristolainen is the team's future franchise defenseman and looks more like it with each passing season. Tyler Myers may still be the team's most valuable defenseman in fantasy, but there's a good chance Ristolainen takes over that top spot by the end of the season. Ristolainen is a potential sleeper defenseman and a key target in keeper leagues, if you can live with a few more seasons of growing pains and playing on a non-playoff team.
News: After being demoted to the AHL and suffering a season-ending ACL injury, Kaleta is ready to return to the lineup and says his focus has never been better, reports the Olean Times Herald.
Impact: Kaleta was handed his fourth NHL suspension after a hit to the head of Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson. An aggressive player and a childhood Sabres fan, Kaleta is relishing a return into the lineup and noted his admiration for head coach Ted Nolan, who was coach of the Sabres in the '90s. Kaleta is vying for a spot on the team's fourth line and brings plenty of grit and experience to the lineup. If he can stay focused, he has a very good chance of earning a spot in the lineup. Though Kaleta was previously a reliable source of penalty minutes, cleaning up his game might serve him better in real life than in fantasy. His value is minimal at this point.
Thu. Sep 18, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Kaleta (knee) has been cleared for full activities during training camp, John Vogl of the Buffalo News reports.
Impact: Kaleta missed nearly all of the 2013-14 campaign after tearing his ACL while playing with AHL Rochester last November. Now fully recovered, Kaleta will compete for a spot on the Sabres' checking line, where he'll offer fantasy players plenty of penalty minutes, but little else.