The Buffalo Sabres made big cuts to their roster Monday by sending eight players to the Rochester Amerks and none of the moves were surprising.
Sent to the AHL were forwards C.J. Smith, Brandon Biro, Steve Fogarty and Brett Murray, defensemen Casey Fitzgerald and Ryan Jones and goalies Dustin Tokarski and Michael Houser.
Tokarski, Fogarty, Smith and defenseman Brandon Davidson were all placed on waivers Sunday and went unclaimed. Smith is the only one of the eight players to have appeared for the Sabres, collecting two goals in 13 career NHL games. He had 12 goals and 15 assists in 50 games last year in Rochester.
“We want to expose them to (the NHL environment), but at the same time we have to be careful with players,” Krueger said after practice Sunday.
The Amerks will begin their first training camp under new coach Seth Appert on Friday. The AHL season is not expected to begin before Feb. 5.
NHL teams are required to submit their season-opening roster to the league by 5 p.m. Tuesday. It consists of up to 23 players and a taxi squad of up to six, which includes one goaltender. Coach Ralph Krueger said Saturday night the Sabres will use all six of those spots.
The Sabres will start the season with Jonas Johansson as their taxi-squad goalie. He will travel with the team.
The team took Monday off and will return to the ice Tuesday morning in KeyBank Center. The 56-game season opens with games here Thursday and Friday nights against Washington.