Any thought of Brendan Guhle cracking the opening night lineup on the Buffalo Sabres' blueline ended Sunday morning as the Sabres announced their top defense product has been sent to the Rochester Amerks to open the season.
The move is not surprising given the team's depth on the defense and is another indication the Sabres are confident that Marco Scandella will be ready for the Oct. 5 opener against Montreal even if his comeback from offseason hip surgery keeps him out of any preseason games.
Guhle made his NHL debut last season in a three-game stint when the Sabres were riddled with injuries. He finished the year in Rochester, collecting a goal and an assist in six games with the Amerks. The Sabres have been clear in their desire to get Guhle top-pair minutes in the AHL this season and the 20-year-old figures to be one of Rochester's key players.
Also sent to Rochester were forwards Hudson Fasching, C.J. Smith and Kyle Criscuolo. Fasching, made Buffalo's opening night lineup last season but struggled most of the year with groin injuries. Smith made his NHL debut in March after being signed from Massachusetts-Lowell but Criscuolo was a free agent signee over the summer.
The Sabres' roster now stands at 32 players (18 forwards, 11 defensemen and three goaltenders). They have to get down to 23 by Oct. 4. The team was off on Sunday and returns to the ice Monday. Its next exhibition game is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
The Amerks begin their training camp Monday in Blue Cross Arena. They have exhibition games against the Toronto Marlies Friday night at RIT and Saturday night at 7 in HarborCenter.