As the Rochester Americans prepare to open training camp, and the Buffalo Sabres pare down their roster, the battle for the remaining roster spots is becoming clearer.
With the 11 prospects sent to Rochester this morning, there are only 41 players left in camp, and only 24 or 25 will be seriously fighting to avoid a drive up the 90. On the bubble are; Brad Boyes, Matt Ellis, Ales Kotalik, Shaone Morrisonn, Mike Ryan, Colin Stuart and Paul Szczechura. On the outside looking in are; Luke Adam, T.J. Brennan, Dennis Persson, Zack Kassian and Drew Schiestel. Corey Tropp earned a couple looks through the preseason, but I feel like he is still floating below guys like Adam, Kassian and the NHL veterans as well. Continue reading →
This is part four in a series previewing the Buffalo Sabres 2011-12 season. Part four focuses on the wingers. Read the previous threeentrieshere.
Darcy Regier has a knack for acquiring wingers. It probably has a lot to do with the league-wide overabundance at the position. Still, the Sabres have a stockpile of talented wingers entering training camp this week.
There are eight openings available and at least ten players vying for a spot on the opening night roster. Based on the salary figures – the Sabres are still $3.5 million over the cap – the projected depth chart is fairly easy to lay out. There are a handful of players who a prime trade candidates, but without anything more than vague rumors it is unfair to speculate who will be part of the organization in a few weeks.
Although the top four wingers are likely locks, the remaining four positions are up for grabs, so to speak. Due to contract structure, intangibles and production; Tyler Ennis, Jason Pominville, Drew Stafford and Thomas Vanek are all likely to be safe from a trade or demotion to Rochester.
According to the report, Ales Kotalik will return to the Buffalo organization, the place where enjoyed quite a bit of success as a power play point man and shootout specialist. Not the first player I would want to receive in a trade, but the Sabres needed to take on cap in order to make the deal attractive to the Flames. The option of shipping Kotalik to Rochester (Buffalo’s new-old farm team) is a very real possibility. I would say that is his likely destination based on the logjam Buffalo has on the wing. UPDATE: The Sabres also acquired Calgary’s second round pick in the 2012 draft. It was previously rumored that Buffalo had sent their second round pick.
The Sabres sent Chris Butler and Paul Byron to the Flames in exchange for the two veterans (Calgary Herald). It seemed as if Butler had plateaued as a sixth or seventh defenseman and Byron gave the Sabres one too many little guys. I contend that they still have too many mini-mites. By unloading these two players the Sabres have parted ways with two guys who probably didn’t have much of a future with the organization. There are numerous defensemen with more upside than Butler and it is obvious Darcy Regier wants to get bigger at forward, just look at their first round draft pick.
When the first reports came through, the rumors of Buffalo sending a pick may have discouraged some cynics who thought Buffalo had traded two prospects and a pick of a defenseman and a useless winger. Knowing now that the Sabres snagged a second round pick in the deal makes this a major win. Darcy Regier has always been a shrewd trader and he won this one as well. A top-four defenseman and a second round pick for two fringe prospects. Sure, you take on Kotalik, but the ease of hiding him in the AHL makes perfect sense to me. It is exactly the kind of attitude the Sabres need to run with as they approach July 1.
The Buffalo Sabres placed Craig Rivet on waivers this morning. I learned the info via Bob McKenzie’s twitter account. In addition to Rivet, former Sabre Ales Kotalik was waived by Calgary along with Nik Zherdev (PHI) and Marek Svatos (NSH).
Kind of crazy to see Svatos waived. The Preds poached the winger from St. Louis when they signed him out of the KHL earlier in the winter.
It is about time that Rivet was given some sort of out. He has been stuck in the press box for quite some time, he deserved better than the fate he was receiving.
I wonder what will come of the Rivet situation? Do they send him to the AHL? Or are they confident a team like Montreal, Vancouver or Toronto will claim him? Either way, the next 24 hours could be interesting to watch.