LAS VEGAS — Former No. 1 draft pick Alexander Nylander has been off the ice since he was injured in the Sabres' first prospect game in mid-September. He missed all of training camp, derailing any hope of him cracking the NHL lineup. Now he's missed the start of the season in Rochester too.
But Nylander is getting closer to a return to the ice and a start to his season.
"It's a situation where obviously it's gone longer than we first anticipated," General Manager Jason Botterill admitted to The News prior to the Sabres' game Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights. "But it's also a scenario where we want him to feel comfortable so this is not an injury that nags him the entire season. Hopefully we get him back on the ice next week and we start progressing from there."
The Sabres are calling it a lower-body injury and the problem is believed to be to Nylander's groin or hamstring.
"He's had a lot of time off so we're going to need some time for him to get back in hockey shape," Botterill said. "The last thing we want to do it put him out there and have him have a setback in one game."
The Amerks are 2-1 thus far and will have only played three times in the season's first 14 days before starting a back-to-back Friday at home against Charlotte.
"Fortunately, the situation in the American Hockey League is they don't have a lot of games right now," Botterill said. "So if Alex sits out a little longer, there's a lot of season left and he's not missing all that much time."