Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Disco's line juggling. Grant waived. Okposo = All-Star

Published by, 1-10-2017

"Disco" Dan Bylsma's been doin' the roster soft shoe lately and who know's what he'll come up with tonight as the Buffalo Sabres host the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center tonight.

Before we delve into that a little bit deeper, forward Derek Grant has been waived. The 6'3" 212 lb. forward can be claimed by any team within the next 24 hrs and should they pass he can be sent to Rochester.

Grant had a great preseason and earned himself a spot on the Sabres roster. Between faceoffs and penalty kills, the former Ottawa pick (119th overall, 2008) earned props early on and looked as if he'd be a solid fourth-line contributor for Buffalo. However the luster soon wore off and Grant's blemishes came to the fore with the biggest one being his inability to score at the NHL level. He's played in 75 NHL games, including 35 with the Sabres, but has yet to light the lamp.

Should Grant clear waivers, which is likely, he'll join the Amerks in a top-nine or even top-six center role for the club. Grant produced back-to-back 20-goal seasons in the AHL before making the Sabres this year and the Amerks could always use more scoring.

As for "Disco," heading into tonight he'll only have one projected line that's played together for the Sabres three-game point streak--Sam Reinhart centering Evander Kane on the left and rookie Justin Bailey on the right. Both wingers on the fourth line--Nicolas Deslauriers and Matt Moulson--will remain, but with Grant being waived they'll have a new center in Zemgus Girgensons.

Girgensons had been playing with Brian Gionta the last three games and the duo had Ryan O'Reilly on their line upon his return from an emergency appendectomy. That line looks as if it will be blown up, despite being an integral part in Saturday's come from behind victory over Winnipeg. O'Reilly will now be centering rookie William Carrier on the left and Kyle Okposo on the right.

Okposo had been center Jack Eichel's right winger for quite some time but he will be replaced by Brian Gionta. Marcus Foligno will be on Eichel's left.

Here's how the projected lineup for tonight's game looks:

Carrier, O'Reilly, Okposo
Foligno, Eichel, Gionta
Kane, Reinhart, Bailey
Deslauriers, Girgensons, Moulson

Good to see Sam Reinhart rediscover his natural center position and good to see Girgensons back in the middle as well. The Sabres are still pretty strong down the middle despite the season-ending injury to Johan Larsson.

Bylsma fooled around with lines at yesterday's practice moving Reinhart from center to wing, but bringing it back home to try and extend their points-streak may be to everyone's benefit.

Game-time is 7:00 tonight.


Congratulations to right wing Kyle Okposo who has been selected to represent the Buffalo Sabres at this year's All-Star break.

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