He was the last player off the ice Friday morning. And while he didn't know the plan, Taylor Fedun had a pretty good guess that he would be the odd man out when the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Vancouver Canucks a few hours later in KeyBank Center.
Fedun was recalled from the Rochester Americans on Friday and was the only healthy extra skater on the Sabres roster.
The defenseman's presence was an insurance policy, particularly with back-to-back games Friday against Vancouver and Saturday in Boston against the Bruins.
However he got to Buffalo, he's in the NHL for now. And any step toward his goal is a good step.
"There hasn't been a ton of games for us down in Rochester," Fedun said in KeyBank Center on Friday. "We've only played three, so it's a pretty small sample size down there, but so far so good. It's always been my goal to get back here. It's one step in the right direction."
Fedun was one of the final cuts from Sabres training camp. In his seventh year of professional hockey, the 29-year-old has played in 39 NHL games – 27 of them coming with the Sabres last season.
He had a strong camp, was one of the last players assigned to Rochester, and was seen as a key piece of the Sabres depth.
And Buffalo already needs to use its depth.
Defenseman Josh Gorges (lower body) is listed as day-to-day while blue liners Justin Falk (undisclosed) and Zach Bogosian (lower body) are both on injured reserve. The forwards have taken a hit as well, with Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) day-to-day, Jacob Josefson placed on the disabled list with a lower body injury, and Evan Rodrigues still on the injured reserve with a wrist injury.
"We're pretty banged up. We've got to get some bodies up here in case something happens," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. Fedun "had a strong camp, and it's unfortunate he wasn't on our team, but he's been called up."
Fedun, who is an alternate captain for the Amerks, has one assist in three games as Rochester has started the season, 2-1.
"It's a completely different team with the energy in the locker room and, I think, with the way guys are getting along," said Fedun, who had 23 points in 29 games for Rochester last year.
"For me, it's the style that we're trying to play here. It's something that should be good for my game with the style that I try to play, in terms of trying to get back to pucks and move them up and jump into spots offensively. I think that's something where it's still early in the season, but it's something I hope will be a good fit for me."
Story topics: Taylor Fedun