As the season gets closer the Sabres keep trimming their roster more and more. We are finally getting a glimpse of who may play with the Portland Pirates this season as well.
Heading to Portland are: forwards Tyler Bouck (pending waivers), Jimmy Bonneau (pending waivers), Colton Fretter, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Derek Whitmore, Felix Schutz and Colin Murphy; defensemen Mike Card and Mike Kostka; and goaltender Jhonas Enroth.
Forward Josh Vatri and defenseman Paul Baier will attend Portland’s camp on a tryout basis.
In the next week or so there will be more players heading to Portland to begin the season. It's amazing that we are not yet sure who those players will be. There are plenty of things that will factor into the decisions that are made by Lindy Ruff and Darcy Regier. Some of those are out of their control with Paul Gaustad expected out three to four weeks and the uncertainty around Adam Mair and Thomas Vanek (last I heard they should both be ready for the opener).
The Sabres are expected to keep 14 forwards and seven defensemen on the opening day roster. That number will probably include Paul Gaustad despite his injury, pending what the status is of Mair and Vanek. The team will want 13 healthy forwards to start.
Predicted Opening Day Forwards (In no specific order)
- Tim Connolly
- Maxim Afinogenov
- Daniel Paille
- Paul Gaustad - injured
- Patrick Kaleta
- Andrew Peters
- Jochen Hecht
- Ales Kotalik
- Thomas Vanek
- Adam Mair
- Jason Pominville
- Derek Roy
- Drew Stafford
The 13 players listed above will be on the Sabres roster when they open up the season on October 10 against the defending Northeast Division Champion Montreal Canadiens. There is still one spot open to another forward and it is truly up for grabs.
On the Bubble
- Nathan Gerbe
- Mark Mancari
- Marek Zagrapan
- Clarke MacArthur
MacArthur is likely to get the 14th spot because he is the only player that has NHL experience but unlike last season, he has some true competition for a roster spot. Zagrapan and Mancari have both played well in camp and are pushing MacArthur while we have learned that Gerbe is the real deal. Gerbe has been impressive and may be ready to make the jump from NCAA to the NHL.
The defense is a little bit more clear cut with Teppo Numminen, Henrik Tallinder, Toni Lydman, Jaro Spacek, Craig Rivet and Andrej Sekera earning the top six spots with Mike Weber and Nathan Paetsch competing for number seven. It's expected that Paetsch will start the season in the number seven spot and Weber will be called up when needed.