As we approach the heart of the holiday season, the Sabres will be receiving two presents back from the infirmary as forwards Jochen Hecht and Tyler Ennis have both practiced in full-contact drills this week and should be ready to go in the nest few days. Despite a solid call-up performance by Corey Tropp and the gritty resolve of Matty Ellis, both appear to be the odd men out and will make the trek back down the I-90 to Rochester for the time being.
So the question remains; where do the Sabres put Ennis and Hecht to infuse a shot of energy in the near future? These are the lines Lindy Ruff rolled out last night against the Hurricanes -
A lot of questions will need to be answered. It's hard to imagine Lindy breaking up anybody in the top 6 with the effort that was put in Friday night against the Hurricanes. Brad Boyes and Ville Leino have started to make strides in developing chemistry on the second line, while Pominville and Vanek have been lights out all year. The only sore thumb that I saw yesterday was Drew Stafford, who is still working hard and getting chances with his linemates but he's having a hell of a time finishing off opportunities. Does Lindy Ruff decide to give Ennis a shot with Leino and Boyes? It's quite possible.
With that said, do the Sabres shift Adam back to the wing to make room for Hecht? Maybe an Adam-Hecht-Stafford line is formed if they choose to bring Ennis up with Leino and Boyes? Adam has already had time playing left wing on the same line as Stafford around the beginning of the month, even if it didn't last long. This variation would also reunite Gerbe, Goose, and Kaleta, a trio that worked together in Buffalo over the summer. That would create this scenario (and this is how I see it shaking out) -
Adam-Hecht-Stafford or Hecht-Adam-Stafford, whichever
Not too shabby to say the least. The other wild card is the status of Cody McCormick moving into the future. I think he has earned the right to expect a roster spot when he can return from his concu...*cough* upper-body injury. So where does he fit into the mix? For all we know, somebody else will be hurt by then and the line carousel will continue.
The moral of the story is that this team is still working on building chemistry this season and it's natural to tinker. The additions of Hecht and Ennis *will* improve the skill level of our squad and the fact that we're improving on a 12 win team is all too reassuring.
So let's all just kick back, relax, and enjoy a shortened work week with Turkey day to soon follow. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from my neck of the suburbs.