Mike Weber figures the Sabres’ charter to California on Monday afternoon will be heavier than usual.
“You’ll see a little bit bigger suitcases on the plane today just in case,” the Sabres defenseman said in First Niagara Center.
The Sabres are departing for a three-game road swing through Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles, and the journey coincides with one of the more stressful times of the year for players. The NHL trade deadline is next Monday, and there’s no way to hide from it.
“I don’t think there’s been a team that I’ve been with, playing or coaching, that you didn’t have it in the back of your mind when this week approaches,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “I don’t think we’re any different. It’s there. You’re wondering what’s going to happen around the league. You wonder a little bit about what’s going to happen to our team, but that’s kind of par for the course when you’re in the National Hockey League and it’s this time of year.”
Sabres General Manager Tim Murray has a goal of getting something for pending unrestricted free agents Jamie McGinn, David Legwand, Chad Johnson, Carlo Colaiacovo and Weber. Restricted free agents Johan Larsson and Marcus Foligno could be in play, too.
“It’s a big three games for us, and that’s all I’m focused on,” McGinn said. “Hockey’s a business. Sometimes you don’t like it, but things happen. I’m happy where I’m at right now, and I’m worried about these three games.”
The Sabres will bring 13 forwards on the trip after recalling Cal O’Reilly from Rochester. Defenseman Cody Franson (head, neck) will make the trip but is still injured. Evander Kane, Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges and Legwand skipped Monday’s practice for maintenance days.
The Sabres will be without Ryan O’Reilly, who is taking the foot injury that will keep him out for up to a month hard.
“He’s disappointed, obviously,” Cal O’Reilly said. “Anybody when you get hurt for a period of time it’s tough to handle.”