We all know the Buffalo Sabres didn’t make it to the NHL’s “bubble” postseason in Toronto, but what if they had? Teams in the “bubble” were allowed to bring 31 skaters to their respective playoff city of Toronto or Edmonton, giving the teams some space to work with younger players who could get a chance to play in the upcoming weeks.
With that said, there are some players who would obviously have been in Toronto with the Sabres, but a small handful - namely, players who spent this season in the AHL with the Rochester Americans or even in juniors - would have been eligible for a spot.
Here’s what my bubble roster for the Sabres would look like:
Jack Eichel (obviously..)
Additions: Rasmus Asplund, Jean-Sébastien Dea, Sean Malone, Dylan Cozens, Matej Pekar. Dea was the Amerks’ leading scorer this season, with Malone not far behind. (Malone has since signed a contract with the Nashville Predators, but if the Sabres had made the bubble, he wouldn’t have had that opportunity.) Love Pekar’s attitude, and I think it would’ve been fun to see him play on the big stage in such a unique atmosphere.
Tage Thompson & Vladimir Sobotka were both injured, so they aren’t on my bubble roster.
Additions: Will Borgen, John Gilmour, Casey Nelson. Never a bad idea to have a few extra defenders around, and while the pickings are a little slim, these three would likely be your best options. (Pilut, of course, has since signed overseas, but if the Sabres had made the bubble, things would look different right now.)
Additions: Andrew Hammond. Honestly, it was a toss-up for me whether I’d take Hammond or Jonas Johansson out of Rochester, but I think I’d lean towards Hammond for his age & experience. It would, of course, be a whole different question if he’d actually get to play.
What players would you want to see on a bubble roster for the Buffalo Sabres, if they’d made it to Toronto for the qualifiers or best-of-five games?