The Buffalo Sabres removed 13 players from their NHL roster Friday. 11 players were sent to the AHL and 2 players were sent to junior (OHL). Luke Adam was sent down, but he needs to be sent though waivers before he can report to the Sabres AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.
Joining Luke Adam (pending waivers) on the Rochester Americans will be Brady Austin, William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Colin Jacobs, Justin Kea, Jerome Leduc, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Kevin Sundher, Chad Ruhwedel, and Phil Varone.
Catenacci, Jacobs, Kea, Leduc, Sundher, Ruhwedel, and Varone will be restarting where they ended last year, with the Amerks, while Austin, Carrier, and Samules-Thomas will be joining the Americans for the first time. The two players sent back to junior were Brendan Lemieux (OHL) and Justin Bailey (OHL).
It will be interesting to see if the new additions to the Amerks will push the team past the 1st round, where the Americans have found themselves the past 2 years. The forwards Carrier, and Samules-Thomas can definitely bring an offensive boost to a team that had trouble scoring on goalies like Drew MacIntyre last year. Both forwards have talent with their hands, but they can also hold their own in front of the net.
The defenseman, Brady Austin, can bring an aggressiveness to Rochester. Austin is a defender who can make plays to clear the front of the net, to eliminate chances for the other team.
As for the returning players, we already have seen what they can bring, with an exception of Justin Kea. Kea played one game last year for the Americans, and scored zero points. Kea came to Rochester last year after his season with the Saginaw Spirit (OHL) ended, he would then be eligible to play in the AHL. Kea had a very productive offensive season and postseason last year in Saginaw. Kea finished the year with 22 goals and 49 points in 58 games. In the playoffs, Kea had a key 4 points in 5 games. Kea can add some scoring to a team with a lack thereof, as mentioned earlier.
Ruhwedel is a surprising removal from the NHL roster. It seemed that a slot for him had been penciled in by the pro club. Instead the 24 year old will be starting the year in Rochester. Perhaps the team has had a change in heart with one of their younger defensemen, such as Rasmus Ristolainen or Nikita Zadorov. Although it was thought that Zadorov was already in his way out the door to London, due to his poor play and attitude in Traverse City and the preseason. Could it be possible that one of these guys stays with the big club the whole year?
The two junior players sent down, Justin Bailey and Brendan Lemieux (OHL), came to no surprise. It was a sure thing that these two were going to be sent down to their respective OHL teams. Lemieux, a 2014 2nd round pick, will go back to Barrie, and Bailey will head to Kitchener.
Bailey was thought to get a longer look in preseason after coming off an impressive season in Kitchener. Bailey, 6’3, 199 lbs, put together 25 goals and 18 assists last year in 54 games, before he was injured late in the year. Considering his jump in points by almost 10 points, Bailey seemed to earn a generous game or two in the preseason, but instead was sent back just before the 3rd game. He hadn’t played in any games.
The Sabres roster is now at 38 skaters. The team will need to make 15 more cuts in order to bring the roster down to the legal 23. Time will tell who will be removed from the NHL club.