It’s been a rough season thus far for Buffalo Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt.
Rough, or not much of a season at all, really.
The 23-year-old played in the Sabres’ season-opening game against Montreal, but skated just 9:07 before suffering an upper-body injury. A month later, he was “progressing,” according to the team.
Six weeks after the injury, he returned to practice in a non-contact role with the team on November 24. Finally, on December 2, Mittelstadt returned to the lineup, making an immediate impact. He recorded a goal and three shots in 19:02 in Buffalo’s loss to the Florida Panthers. It wasn’t a great game, but it sure was great to have him back.
He went on to play 19:14 two days later against the Carolina Hurricanes. Then, this past Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks, Mittelstadt skated 14:24 — and then appeared to suffer a re-aggravation of his previous injury.
Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reported that Mittelstadt appeared to be in a lot of pain when he left the ice. The team waited several days for tests & placed him on injured reserve before reporting on December 10 that he has had successful surgery.
There is no timeline for his return at this point, per head coach Don Granato, but the hope is that he can return this season.
It’s unfortunate news for the Sabres, and for a promising young player (he’s still only 23, remember) who has put up 62 points in 159 games with the Sabres to date. While the hope is that he can return this season, Buffalo will have to focus on the tasks at hand and moving forward without him for the time being.