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Scratching Lawrence Pilut Is The Wrong Move

Sabres have plenty of struggling defense, so why sit Pilut?

Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut struggled in Saturday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. As a result, and to allow Nathan Beaulieu back into the lineup, Pilut will watch tonight’s game in Edmonton from the press box.

But is Pilut really the best player to be sending a message to at this point, telling him to sit because of one bad game? Off the top of my head, I can think of at least one other Sabres defenseman who should be sitting ahead of Pilut - Marco Scandella.

Pilut was a minus-1 in the 5-3 loss to Tampa. He took one penalty and had 15:43 of ice time. And yes, he had one giveaway, an egregious turnover in the third period that led the Lightning to tie the game.

However, young players are expected to make mistakes - and learn from them. In this case, it seems that Phil Housley and co. believe “learning from his mistakes” means sitting out the next game.

Meanwhile, Scandella - who had a goal in Saturday’s loss and played 17:03, but who has struggled for much of the season - remains in the lineup.

The Sabres are at a critical point in the season. They’ve fallen out of a playoff spot, and every game, and every point, matters deeply. Scratching Pilut, who is arguably the Sabres’ second- or third-best defenseman, while leaving a player like Scandella in, is questionable - especially for a team that’s already struggling.

We’ll have to wait and see just what this does, and if Pilut draws back into the lineup on Wednesday in Calgary. One can only hope that he’s brought back in and that this doesn’t hint towards his reassignment to the Amerks (although that would be good for Rochester.)