The Buffalo Sabres parade of youth continues, as they're giving another player his first chance to play in the NHL tomorrow night. Only this kid is 23 years old.
Phil Varone has gotten the call-up to Buffalo, after spending the past few seasons as one of the Rochester Americans most reliable workhorses. Varone was signed by the Sabres in 2011 (he was drafted in the fifth round but never signed by the Sharks in 2009) and leads the Amerks in scoring with 33 points in 33 games.
Varone is an undersized center - at 5'10'' 185lbs, he's not going to be a big bodied bruiser. But he's produced well in the AHL, also leading the Amerks in scoring during the 2011-12 season, and has more than earned the trial run on a terrible team. Things that Ted Nolan will like about him: he leads the Amerks in shots, his effort level is consistent from night to night, and he doesn't miss games due to injury.
In order to make room for Varone, the Sabres sent Kevin Porter and Brayden McNabb down to Rochester, where they will likely stay in order to play for the Amerks while the NHL takes its Olympic break in February. There was some speculation that Mark Pysyk might join them for the Olympics, but according to TBN's John Vogl, Pysyk would have to be sent down by 5pm this Friday in order to be eligible. He sat last night and was held out of practice today with a nagging injury.
The likely starting spot for Varone to fill is that of either Ville Leino or Linus Omark, two players with whom Ted Nolan is currently displeased thanks to their lack of effort and inconsistency. The move happened after the team practiced today, so we'll know more about where to see Varone tomorrow morning. He will wear #84, becoming the only player in Sabres history to do so.
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