When you sketched out the Sabres' defense to start the season, it looked like this:
First pair: Marco Scandella-Rasmus Ristolainen
Second pair: Jake McCabe-Zach Bogosian
Third pair: Nathan Beaulieu-Victor Antipin
Ready if needed: Josh Gorges, Justin Falk, Taylor Fedun
Of course, it hasn't worked out that way. Bogosian hasn't played a single game after being injured during the final game of the preseason, while Beaulieu will miss his seventh straight game Tuesday against Washington and Ristolainen will miss his second straight.
Gorges has been out for eight in a row and Matt Tennyson, an free-agent signee for Rochester who had ascended to the second pair in Buffalo, is expected to be sidelined for the first time after taking a Jack Eichel shot to the ankle in practice Monday.
Tennyson has no points and a minus-8 rating in 14 games but has garnered continued praise from coach Phil Housley, even as he's became the No. 1 target of fan ire on social media. In two of the last three games, he fact, Tennyson has played more than 20 minutes -- while totaling a minus-5 in them. Now even he's on the shelf.
Zach Redmond has been called up from Rochester for the second time this season for tonight's game, so the Sabres have essentially gone 11 deep on defense so far. Why haven't they given top prospect Brendan Guhle a look, especially since he's red-shot in Rochester?
— Rochester Americans (@AmerksHockey) November 5, 2017
Guhle has two goals and six assists for the Amerks -- all in the last seven games. Housley deflected the Guhle question today by noting the decision to call up the 20-year-old rests with General Manager Jason Botterill.
"I think he's doing a great job developing where he is right now, " Housley said of Guhle. "It's fair to say we don't want to rush him. He's in a good spot, he's playing well, he's getting the minutes right now that I think are going to help carry his game and develop him."
Given the sheer number of injuries on defense, was Guhle close to getting the call for tonight's game?
"No, not at all right now at this point," Housley said. "Obviously, we want to have him develop in the right area and continue to make strides in his development. You look at a lot of players in this league that have been up and gone down, it's OK. The American League is a pretty good hockey league and it's a good place to develop."
Guhle was impressive in his three-game emergency stint with the Sabres out of junior -- which included an overtime loss in Washington -- but did not make much of an impact this year during training camp. For the time being at least, it appears the Sabres are going to be steadfast that he's staying down no matter how many injuries the big club endures.