On the bubble: What Sabres veterans are in danger of being waived to Rochester?

September 28, 2018 - 5:59 pm

With the Buffalo Sabres wrapping up their preseason against the New York Islanders on Friday night, there are still plenty of young players stating their case for the opening day roster. 

However, for one to be promoted, one has to be demoted. Here are some veterans that need to finish strong, or else be sent to Rochester. Here are four veterans that could be on the outs if the young guns like Alex Nylander, Tage Thompson, Lawrence Pilut or Brendan Guhle crack the Sabres opening roster. 

1.) Johan Larsson - Forward 

  • The case for Larsson to stay in Buffalo: 

Larsson is a steady veteran presence, with the ability to be a defensive center that the Sabres may need due to the team's potential youth. Larsson is also a solid penalty killer that teams do tend to covet and can be a threat at times when short handed (1 goal, 1 assist on the PK last season). 

  • The case for Larsson to be sent to Rochester: 

Sadly, Larsson does not offer much in terms of offensive capabilities. His best season, 2016-17, saw him tally 11 points in 37 games before it was cut short from a gruesome injury. Larsson did not seem to bounce back well, but still matched his career high in points with 17 last year. Add in that he's currently injured, Larsson may be sent down to recover. 

2.) Zemgus Girgensons - Forward 

  • The case for Girgensons to stay in Buffalo: 

Girgensons is versatile, able to play center and wing at any moments notice. Girgensons has speed and brings the tenacity that screams bottom 6 forward. Girgensons is also responsible defensively, but can still be trusted to at least have the speed to fill a top 9 type of role if injuries start to pile up. Last season, Girgensons was with Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville at times with mixed results per game. 

  • The case for Girgensons to be sent to Rochester: 

Man, how many times has Girgensons had a quality chance that was either robbed, flubbed or not finished off for a goal? The stats tell that story. Every season of his 5 year career has seen Girgensons range from 110 to 115 shots. In 2014-15, Girgensons made the All Star game (thanks to the help of his home country of Latvia, but still an All Star) and had 15 goals on 13.0% shooting. Outside of that season, Girgensons has not surpassed 7.0% (his rookie year of 2013-14). The poor guy can never buy a goal. 

3.) Scott Wilson - Winger

  • The case for Wilson to stay in Buffalo: 

Wilson became a solid presence for the bottom 6 last season, but once the Sabres traded Evander Kane, Wilson was put out of place on the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Sam Reinhart/Kyle Okposo. Wilson has the perfect skill set for the new age 4th liner, with enough speed to not be overmatched and can put up some decent production. Wilson also is a penalty killer teams can trust. 

  • The case for Wilson to be sent to Rochester: 

If Alex Nylander and Tage Thompson both make the team, there could be a numbers game that could see Wilson sent down or be the extra forward rotating in or out of the lineup on a regular basis. While Wilson seems more safe than Larsson or Girgensons, Wilson is also strictly a winger. 

4.) Nathan Beaulieu - Defenseman

  • The case for Beaulieu to stay in Buffalo: 

Beaulieu looks like a different and more confident player than the player that fans saw last season. Beaulieu has a cannon of a shot, something we did not see enough of last year, with only one goal last year while being rotated in and out of the lineup. But Beaulieu looks like he's steadied up his game and can be a solid 6th/7th defenseman for this team.

  • The case for Beaulieu to be sent to Rochester: 

Beaulieu was a disaster in his own end last season, cringe-worthy at times in his own end. To get to a point where a clearly over-the-hill Josh Gorges was replacing him in the lineup to steady the blue line defensively, that is rather horrifying. And if Lawrence Pilut and Brendan Guhle keep fighting for a spot, it would be Beaulieu's or Casey Nelson's on the line as the 6th and 7th defensemen. 

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