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Sabres at Wild Preview: Jack Eichel, new-look Sabres debut in Minnesota

Preseason Game #1

Buffalo Sabres (0-0-0) at
Minnesota Wild (0-0-0)

Puck Drop: 8:00 pm EST | Xcel Energy Center | Saint Paul, MN

TV: None | Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Wild Blog: Hockey Wilderness

If a Sabres game is played, and there’s no way to watch it, did it happen? We’re about to find out.

The new look Sabres make their preseason debut tonight in Minnesota, marking the (sort-of?) professional debut for second-overall pick Jack Eichel. Dan Bylsma said yesterday that he’ll be playing alongside Matt Moulson and Zemgus Girgensons, who have been his linemates during training camp this week. Eichel will be wearing No. 41 until he officially makes the Sabres’ roster.

We know one player who will not be in the lineup tonight, as Bylsma also told media that Bobby Sanguinetti is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Chad Johnson will also get his first look in the blue and gold, as he will get the start. The former Islanders keeper was injured last year following his deadline trade, preventing him from getting game action. Bylsma said backup Nathan Lieuwen will also get time.

That’s pretty much all we know about the lineup. Bylsma already getting that preseason tactical advantage! He said the Sabres will dress about 10 veterans, which they are legally mandated to do based on the NHL preseason rules. Eichel does count, so his line makes up three of the 10.

The Wild have their entire projected roster on their site, and it has a handful of top-line players. Jason Pominville will be skating alongside Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund, which very likely could be Minnesota’s top line going into the season. Ryan Suter will be playing top-pair minutes with Jared Spurgeon, and former Sabre Tyson Strachan may be dressed as the sixth defenseman. Thomas Vanek will not be playing.

Since the game is not on television, it will be tough to take much away from it. It could be the first time we get to see Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly in full uniform, or they could not even be playing. I’m just excited for some new pictures of Eichel we can use on this site. You can only look into his haunting eyes in his draft photos so long before you snap.

Call your friends, gather around the radio, and imagine the Sabres look real swell.

Update: We have the Sabres lineup for tonight thanks to the morning skate. The Eichel line will serve as the No. 1 group, while the second line could be a preview of this year’s fourth.

Projected BUF lineup

Moulson – Eichel – Girgensons
Deslauriers – Larsson – Foligno
Carrier – Varone – Bailey
Ellis – Kea – Dupuy – Karabacek

McCabe – Franson
Guhle – Pysyk
Austin – Weber

Goal: Chad Johnson

Projected MIN lineup

Zach Parise – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Jason ZuckerMikko KoivuNino Niederreiter
Ruslan FedotenkoTyler GraovacZack Mitchell
Matt CareyBrady BrassartKurtis Gabriel

Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas BrodinChristian Folin
Mike Reilly – Nate Prossler – Tyson Strachan

Goal: Darcy Kuemper