The Buffalo Sabres dropped a bomb today, as they announced that center and should-be-captain Ryan O’Reilly would be out indefinitely after undergoing a successful appendectomy over the holidays.
Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly underwent a successful appendectomy over the break & no timetable has been set for his return. pic.twitter.com/YSfCUKdpl2— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) December 27, 2016
This is terrible news for the Sabres and their fans, as O’Reilly is one of the team’s heart and soul players both on and off the ice. While he’s been in a bit of a slump lately, ROR is one of the engines that drives the Sabres offense, posting a 7/11/18 line through 27 games this season.
According to some basic internet research, it seems like this surgery will require a 2-4 week recovery, and I’d skew more toward the higher end considering the violent nature of O’Reilly’s job. The Sabres have not given any official timetable for his return.
With the season hanging on a razor’s edge over the past few weeks, and with us already seeing how the Sabres played when one of their top two centers wasn’t on the ice, the next few weeks will cement what the Sabres plan should be come trade deadline time and for the rest of the season.
In O’Reilly’s absence, it appears Sam Reinhart will be sliding back to center between Girgensons and Okposo. Here were the team’s lines at the morning skate:
It’s clear what a big hit the top six takes without ROR and with Kane seemingly banished to Bylsma’s doghouse. The Sabres will have to try and make it all work tonight as they face the Red Wings.