The Buffalo Sabres crept closer to getting their roster down to regular season levels Monday as six more players were sent to the Rochester Amerks.
Gone to the AHL are defensemen Brayden McNabb and Chad Ruhwedel, forward Michael Zigomanis and goaltender Matt Hackett. Defenseman Drew Bagnall and center Matt Ellis were also sent down but must first clear waivers.
The Sabres are now at 29 players — 18 forwards, nine defensemen and goalies Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth. They need to be at 23 by next Monday.
The Sabres are likely to keep eight defensemen and the surprise survivor so far is rookie Nakita Zadorov, who scored his first preseason goal Sunday in Toronto.
Zadorov, the No. 16 overall pick in the June draft, seems ticketed to return to London of the Ontario Hockey League but has been impressive during camp. He played 25 minutes, 33 seconds Sunday alongside Tyler Myers.
“We want to give all those guys opportunities. … We had a lot of young guys in there that got good looks,” coach Ron Rolston said Monday. “‘Z’ played a lot of crucial minutes in the back end. He’s a talent and we want to give him as many games as possible here to keep the evaluation going and help him understand what this level is about.”
In addition to Corey Tropp, who was injured in his third-period fight Sunday, Marcus Foligno and Cody McCormick sat out practice Monday.
Rolston said Foligno, who is believed to have a shoulder injury, was still being re-evaluated while McCormick has a minor hand injury and should return to the ice Wednesday.
Rolston said he will wait to name a permanent captain until after the final two exhibition games. He said he’s leaning to picking regular alternate captains as well rather than rotating those designations. The Sabres have rotated captains during the exhibition season with center Cody Hodgson wearing the ‘C’ on Sunday.
“We’ve kind of spread it out a little bit. We’ve let guys do it,” Rolston said. “We think we have a good pool. It’s just finding the right mix, the right representation to carry us going forward.”
With Nathan Gerbe gone to Carolina, the Sabres announced that defenseman Mike Weber is taking over as the point man for the team’s nightly “Tickets for Troops” program.
Weber will provide a pair of tickets to a different military member from Western New York for each home game, starting with the Oct. 4 home opener against Ottawa. The seats are located in Sec 100, Row 18 and each troop receives a Sabres jersey at the game. Applications are available at Sabres.com
Because of tonight’s Michael Buble concert in First Niagara Center, the Sabres are taking today off. They return to action Wednesday night when they host Columbus. The final preseason game is Friday at Carolina.