Sabres begin to finalize roster; Ristolainen in, Adam out

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres must get down to 23 men on their roster by Monday, and with a number of promising young players on the bubble, the big question remains - who's in and who's out?

The Sabres preseason schedule has concluded, and as the team looks forward to the season opener on Wednesday against Detroit, only one thing remains - to trim the roster down to 23 by Monday.

The first roster confirmations were made today at Ron Rolston's press conference. When asked if Rasmus Ristolainen had done enough to make the team, Rolston responded, "I would say, yeah." It's a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one, but the Sabres first pick in the 2013 NHL Draft proved this preseason that he was ready for NHL competition.

Ristolainen has been used in all special teams situations, and has excelled at both ends of the ice. His time spent in the Finnish pro leagues really shows in his play, which is always fluid, never rushed, and usually smart. He knows how to use his big body to help him out, and will almost certainly be among the top 6 defensemen when the season opens on Wednesday.

On the other side of the coin, it was also confirmed today that Luke Adam was sent back to Rochester. Adam has never been able to recapture the magic he showed at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, and will likely need a whopper of a campaign in Rochester to earn his way back up to the NHL.

The fates of other players still need to be determined, including Nikita Zadorov, who suffered a hand injury in his last preseason game and will be sidelined for two more weeks. Rolston admitted today that he's not sure whether the team will keep Zadorov or send him back to juniors.

With Ristolainen's roster spot confirmed, that leaves Jamie McBain and Alexander Sulzer fighting for the #7 spot, unless of course the team decides to carry eight defensemen this season. Johan Larsson will be battling with Cody McCormick, Kevin Porter, Brian Flynn, and Zemgus Girgensons for the remaining forward positions.

The final roster is due on Monday, so it won't take long for the Sabres to confirm their opening day squad. With Ristolainen in the fold, who else do you want to see the Sabres keep in Buffalo? Sound off in the comments.

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