The All-Star break is supposed to be time for players and coaches alike to recharge the batteries, but, in the Buffalo Sabres’ case, there’s a couple that need replacing. In the wake of Jack Quinn’s surgery news, the Sabres announced Sunday that Mattias Samuelsson is out for the remainder of the season after requiring surgery to repair an upper-body injury.
Head coach Don Granato spoke to the media Sunday, noting that Samuelsson’s surgery is to repair an injury sustained in their last game prior to the break.
The news comes at a pivotal time for the team, as they’re currently 10 points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final playoff spot with a game in-hand. Missing two key contributors from their 7-4-0 January is not ideal, given that the Sabres will need to up the pace going forward in order to push for a postseason appearance.
Samuelsson Injury Replacements
In the case of having enough players on the roster, Granato mentioned that Zemgus Girgensons and Erik Johnson should be good to go for Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Stars. As it currently stands, that leaves 13 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies on the roster.
While replacing what Quinn brings to the team may require bringing in someone from outside the organization, Granato stressed that he believes the Sabres can overcome the injury to Samuelsson with the guys within.
“Ryan Johnson’s come in and done a nice job,” Granato alluded Sunday. “[Connor] Clifton and Erik Johnson have done a nice job. When Mattias has been out, we’ve kind have been able to shore that area up.”
As far as replacing Quinn in the short-term, all eyes are on rookie Zach Benson. “Zach’s been great in a top-nine role,” Granato praised, “I do think he’s ready to step in.”
Here’s how the Sabres lined up during Sunday’s practice:
Jeff Skinner – Tage Thompson – Kyle Okposo
Zach Benson – Dylan Cozens – JJ Peterka
Jordan Greenway – Casey Mittelstadt – Alex Tuch
Zemgus Girgensons/Victor Olofsson – Peyton Krebs – Eric Robinson
Rasmus Dahlin – Henri Jokiharju
Owen Power – Jacob Bryson
Ryan Johnson/Erik Johnson – Connor Clifton