If there is anyone aside from the fans who wishes the Buffalo Sabres regular season could have ended earlier it’s the Rochester Americans. The Amerks lost countless players to the Buffalo Sabres down the stretch as Sabres players dropped like flies. Almost every game a new call-up was needed and as a result the Rochester Americans were forced to call up ECHL players to fill the void. However, the Buffalo Sabres season has ended and the Amerks are getting some much needed reinforcement ahead of the AHL playoffs.
With the final week of the AHL season set to begin, the Amerks currently sit in the 7th slot of Eastern Conference
occupying one of two wild card slots. However with a few games left and several teams fighting for those 7th and 8th spots, this will be a crazy week for the Amerks.
To help their farm team the Buffalo Sabres returned Nicolas Deslauriers, Mark Pysyk, Rasmus Ristolainen, Chad Ruhwedel, Connor Knapp, Nathan Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov. The Amerks also received a boost with the addition of forward Mikhail Grigorenko after his QMJHL season.
Unfortunately for the Amerks, Lieuwen is still out with a concussion he suffered while playing for the Sabres and Matt Hackett was not returned. Lieuwen believes he’ll be good to go if the Amerks make the second round of the AHL playoffs but for now the load falls on Connor Knapp and Andrey Makarov.
It’s going to be tough but with some much needed support and NHL experience on the roster, the Rochester Americans should be able to slide soundly into the playoffs. The boost should help lighten the load on Luke Adam, Phil Varone and Nick Crawford. The Amerks took 5 of 6 points this season to move them two points up the 8th place team. The final week is about to get underway and the Amerks will be in a dogfight right up untill the end.