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Sabres' line combinations certainly different without Eichel

As Sabres fans await more news on Jack Eichel’s ankle injury, it’s easy to think the worst. After all, Robin Lehner missed nearly three-quarters of last season with a high-ankle sprain.

Eichel may not have a significant sprain, and goalies have a harder time recovering than forwards because of the nature of the position. But no matter how long Eichel is out, the Sabres’ lineup takes the biggest hit imaginable.

Here were the potential forward groups with everyone healthy (including Kyle Okposo, who will miss Thursday’s opener against Montreal in KeyBank Center):

Evander Kane-Jack Eichel-Sam Reinhart
Tyler Ennis-Ryan O’Reilly-Kyle Okposo
Marcus Foligno-Johan Larsson-Brian Gionta
Nicolas Deslauriers-Derek Grant/Zemgus Girgensons-Matt Moulson/Hudson Fasching

For the opener, it might look like this:

Kane-O’Reilly-Reinhart
Ennis-Grant-Moulson
Foligno-Larsson-Gionta
Deslauriers-Girgensons-Fasching

That’s a big difference. Making things worse, O'Reilly can't take faceoffs while recovering from injury.

This is not how the Sabres thought they'd start the season.

 

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