On Monday, Sept. 30, the Buffalo Sabres announced their 23-man roster for the start of the 2013-2014 season.
After forward Luke Adam cleared waivers on Saturday, Sept. 28, the Sabres had 28 players on the roster over the weekend, with 18 forwards, nine defenseman, and two goalies. To get to the 23-man limit by the deadline at 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, the Sabres made a few minor moves.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, the Sabres placed defenseman Alex Sulzer on waivers.
Since being acquired by the Sabres in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks in February of 2012, Sulzer played 32 games with the team, scoring six goals and adding six assists for 12 total points. He also tallied 16 penalty minutes and had a plus-5 rating during his time in Buffalo. This past season, Sulzer suffered a torn ACL against the New York Islanders on Feb. 23, which required surgery and caused him to miss the remainder of the season. He had three goals and an assist for four points at that point in the season, to go along with 10 penalty minutes and plus-3 rating. He was then signed to a one-year contract extension on July 6, 2013.
Clearing waivers on Monday, Sept. 30, Sulzer was assigned to the Rochester Americans of the AHL. The move helps secure a roster spot for rookie defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who the Sabres drafted 8th overall in the first round of the 2013 NHL draft. The 18-year-old 6’4, 207 lbs. defenseman played 93 games with TPS Turku of the Finnish Elite League SM-liiga since 2011, scoring six goals and adding 17 assists for 23 points, while posting 110 penalty minutes and a minus-28 rating. In five pre-season games with the Sabres this year, Ristolainen had one assist and was related a minus-2, while being held without a goal and not committing any penalties.
With forwards Corey Tropp and Marcus Foligno starting the season on the injured list, roster spots were available for rookie forwards Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson.
Girgensons was drafted 14th overall by the Sabres in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft, and spent all of last season with the Rochester Americans. In 61 games with the Amerks last season, He had six goals and adding 11 assists for 17 points. He also had 28 penalty minutes and was rated a minus-7. He then broke out with three goals in three games during the playoffs, while not committing a penalty and posting a plus-2 rating. The 19-year-old Latvian forward played five pre-season games with the Sabres this year, scoring three goals and adding one assist for four points, while accruing eight penalty minutes and a plus-5 rating.
Larsson was acquired by the Sabres from the Minnesota Wild along with Matt Hackett in the Jason Pominville trade back in April. Drafted 56th overall by the Wild in the second round of the 2010 NHL draft, Larsson played only one with the Wild before the trade, being held without a point in a little over 14 minutes of play against the Detroit Red Wings back in February. He spent most of the season with the Wild’s AHL affiliate Houston Aeros, where he had 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points in 62 games, while also amassing 38 penalty minutes and an even plus/minus rating. After being acquired by the Sabres, Larsson had one goal and three assists for four points in seven games with the Amerks last season, to go along with two penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating. In five games with the Sabres during the pre-season, Larsson had two goals, was rated a plus-1, and had two penalty minutes.
Although injured, rookies Joel Armia (forward) and Nikita Zadarov (defenseman) will start the season on the Sabres roster, however on the injured list.
Armia was drafted 16th overall by the Sabres in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft. He has spent the last three seasons with Porin Ässät of the Finnish League (SM-liiga), playing 149 games with the team since 2010. In those 149 games, Armia had 55 goals and 45 assists for 100 total points, while also posting 120 penalty minutes and a plus-33 rating. In four games with the Sabres during the pre-season this year, Armia had one goal and two assists for the points, while adding two penalty minutes and posting a plus-1 rating. However, after suffering a broken hand in a pre-season game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Armia is out indefinitely.
Zadorov was drafted 16th overall by the Sabres in the first round of this year’s NHL draft. The 18-year-old Russian played 63 games with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League this past season, scoring six goals and adding 19 assists for 25 points, while also amassing 54 penalty minutes a plus-33 rating. In four pre-season games with the Sabres this year, Zadorov had one goal, four penalty minutes, and a plus-4 rating. However, Zadorov injured a finger while blocking his shot with his hand in the last pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers and will miss two weeks.
It is not yet known whether Zadorov or Armia will remain with the Sabres after returning from injury.
On their 23-man opening day roster (not including the four players on the injured list), the Sabres have 14 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies. A captain and two assistant captains have yet to be named, yet will likely be on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Here is the Buffalo Sabres full roster for the start of this season.
8 Cody McCormick
9 Steve Ott
12 Kevin Porter
19 Cody Hodgson
21 Drew Stafford
22 Johan Larsson
23 Ville Leino
25 Mikhail Grigorenko
26 Thomas Vanek
28 Zemgus Girgensons
32 John Scott
33 Joel Armia (injured)
36 Patrick Kaleta
63 Tyler Ennis
65 Brian Flynn
78 Corey Tropp (injured)
82 Marcus Foligno (injured)
3 Mark Pysyk
4 Jamie McBain
6 Mike Weber
10 Christian Ehrhoff
20 Henrik Tallinder
55 Rasmus Ristolainen
57 Tyler Myers
61 Nikita Zadorov (injured)
1 Jhonas Enroth
30 Ryan Miller