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Nolan hints at roster moves for Sabres

Nov 18, 2013, 1:44 PM EDT

grigorenkogetty Getty Images

Some interesting comments from new Sabres head coach Ted Nolan following today’s practice. The takeaway? Don’t be surprised if there’s some roster shuffling on the horizon.

“We have so many young guys here, and it’s almost like going back to junior hockey in some sense,” Nolan said, per the Buffalo News.

“Patty and I have been talking for the last three, four days about that. I didn’t realize how young they really were and the positions that they’re in and the capabilities of what they can do besides playing here.

“There’s some maneuvering room we can do here. We checked the farm team, see who’s going well down there. There’s a couple players playing exceptionally well down there that deserve an opportunity. We’ve been tweaking. We’re going to meet right after this and see what we can do.”

Patty, of course, is the Sabres’ new president of hockey operations, Pat LaFontaine.

One player that’s likely to be headed back to junior is Nikita Zadorov. The 18-year-old d-man has only played seven games this season, so the first year of his entry-level contract has yet to kick in.

Another candidate is Mikhail Grigorenko, who’s been a healthy scratch in both games that Nolan has coached. In hindsight, the 19-year-old was probably rushed into the NHL by the previous Sabres regime. A return to junior, where he can log a lot more ice time and experience some success, may be in his best long-term interests.

Update (4:28 p.m. ET)

Related: PHT Extra — What’s next for Nolan, LaFontaine?

  1. mehetmet - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Grigorenko and Zadorov both going back to juniors. Weber is also coming back soon off of IR, though not necessarily a good thing (as he led the league in +/- on the negative side when he went out) but does take up another one of those roster spots. Larsson can also be sent down, but he would go to AHL. (he has been scratched a while now too)

    Zadorov down – Weber in
    Grigorenko down – Adam in (14 goals in 15 games or something in AHL, previous regime didn’t like his attitude)
    Larsson to AHL – Kaleta in (not the greatest move, but will be one to win over the fans even more)

  2. elemeno89 - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Grigorenko was put in a tough spot, and it ultimately is unfair to him that he can’t be sent to the AHL. He is one of those player that was too good for juniors (last year during the lockout he put up 54 pts in 33 games played), but hes not ready for the NHL. Putting him in juniors could shatter his confidence completely, but he needs to play with guys that have some sort of scoring ability.

  3. kastout11 - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    I like his no-nonsense approach. It is hard to believe a guy like Nolan has been out of the NHL for so long. Although I think he is only there on an interim basis, he is exactly what they need.

  4. pi2000 - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    This organization can’t seem to make up it’s mind. Are they rebuilding or not? They were on target for a top 3 pick each of the next couple of drafts. Now they’re suddenly trying to win at all costs by sending all the inexperienced players back down to the farm? What is the goal for this year? Make the playoffs? Or attain a top 1 or 2 pick while developing the young guns? Anything in between will do nothing help build a perennial contender.

    • mehetmet - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      the talk is they are sending down 18 and 19 year olds for players in their low 20’s who have just about as much NHL experience. This will ensure they don’t get destroyed (see RNH and every time he got hit having a shoulder injury due to not being fully grown yet) or have their confidence killed that they can’t make it in this league.

      This isn’t going to make them win a ton more games or give them a shot at the playoffs. The point of this is to develop the younger players they believe have more potential, and fill in with what they have. .

      With a regime change, there will be new philosophies, new “favorite” players, and some of the old prospects will get sent down as the new management may not be as in love with them as the old management was. The new regime may want to go a different direction.

    • mehetmet - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      And of course they can’t “make up their mind” they don’t have a GM at the moment as their previous just got fired.

      Show me a team that brings in a new GM/management to continue on the same path the previous had in place.

      • thesportsjudge - Nov 18, 2013 at 5:53 PM

        Somehow I think no GM is better than their previous one.

  5. mcgoospot - Nov 18, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Bring up guys that NEED to be here to develop. McNabb and Adams have shown that they are too good for the AHL. trade/Waive Weber. Send Grig’s, Larsson, and Zadorov to Juniors or AHL. Play Risto , Girgs and the young guys who have developed enough. No reason for guys like McBain and Talinder to be here when they are taking roster spots from McNabb and Ruhweidel.

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