Thoughts on Sabres, Amerks Roster Moves

Earlier this morning, the Buffalo Sabres announced that Luke Adam, Brayden McNabb, and Mark Pysyk had been reassigned to the Amerks, and Chad Ruhwedel and Kevin Porter had been recalled to the Sabres.

Considering the direction that Lafontaine and Nolan seem to be taking the team, none of these moves are a huge surprise. They seem to be walking a fine line between adding team leadership, and evaluating talent.

After starting the season on absolute fire for the Amerks (13 goals and 5 assists in 15 games), Luke Adam was called up to Buffalo to see if he could spark their offense. Unfortunately, after 9 games, he’s notched only 1 goal. He has had many other chances, but seemed snakebitten. With 26 points in 84 career NHL games, was that Luke’s last shot with the Sabres? He’ll be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.

Much like Adam, Brayden McNabb also had a huge start to the season, scoring 3 goals and 12 assists in 15 games, and playing a very responsible defense.  His played earned him a 5 game recall to Buffalo, where he was held without a point. It seems that he would be more of a Ted Nolan kind of player when he turns up his physical play, but he’s been returned to Rochester.

Somewhat more surprisingly, Mark Pysyk was also returned to the Amerks. General consensus is that his play was very steady in Buffalo, but considering the youth movement in Buffalo, and a renewed focus to developing players in Rochester, the move makes sense. Expect Pysyk to be one of the hardest working players in Rochester during his time here.

With three players coming down to Rochester, they needed some more warm bodies in Buffalo. Kevin Porter has been recalled to take Adam’s spot on the roster. Porter was held without a point in 9 games in Buffalo to start the season, but has played well in Rochester. More importantly, he’s a leader and good locker room guy, and the type of player that Ted Nolan may be leaning on for the rest of the season.

Additionally, Chad Ruhwedel has been given his first recall of the season. He played well in a 7-game stint in Buffalo last season, and has put up 4 goals and 10 assists in 26 games as an Amerk this season. He’s a good puck mover and smart blueliner.  He’s also a restricted free agent after this season, so the Sabres may be giving him a look in the NHL to see how his game is developing.

Overall, the Amerks have lost some leadership to Buffalo in the last couple of weeks (especially in Matt Ellis and Kevin Porter), but they’ve added a significant amount of talent. It would be nice to see them go on an offensive tear before heading off to Switzerland for the Spengler Cup next week.

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