The Sabres have gotten off to a solid start this season, thanks to Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart taking huge steps forward, first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin making an immediate impact, and Jeff Skinner and Carter Hutton providing consistent play each game.
However, room for improvement can be made, and one place to look for reinforcement is in Rochester, where the team is continuing its’ strong play from last year.
Lawrence Pilut, who started the year in Rochester, has provided a spark since making his NHL debut as other players look to get a chance at the highest level.
Whether it’s due to strong play or roster necessities, these are the most likely candidates for a call-up in the near future:
Alex Nylander – 33 GP: 13 G|16 A
Amerks up 1-0!! Guhle took the shot from the blue line, Nylander put the loose puck in the net. PP goal. pic.twitter.com/ezhbgQjd1h
— LGA585 (formerly LetsGoAmerks) (@LGA585) December 27, 2018
Despite facing struggles during his first two AHL seasons, Nylander is beginning to live up to the promise many expected when Buffalo took him eighth overall in 2016. With 20 points in 30 games, the 6’1″ forward is showing the Sabres organization what he could bring to the team on a nightly basis. Although he has only played in seven NHL games since he was drafted, his game has taken a step forward in the last year and could soon be rewarded with a call-up.
Brendan Guhle – 29 GP: 4 G|12 A
Having already played two games this year in a previous call-up, Guhle has shown his ability and how it translates to the NHL level. Guhle, who has tremendous skating ability and puck awareness, reminds Sabre fans of Phil Housley from days when he donned the blue & gold.
Currently in his second pro season, the Edmonton, AB native has earned 16 points through 29 games in Rochester, along with five points in 23 career games for the Sabres. Although he was paired with Matt Hunwick earlier in the year, Guhle’s game is similar to Dahlin and Pilut when it comes to their skating and abilities as blueliners, which could result in him being paired with either later on in his career.
Victor Olofsson– 30 GP: 10 G|19 A
— LGA585 (formerly LetsGoAmerks) (@LGA585) December 1, 2018
After spending the last four years playing professionally in his native Sweden, Olofsson is currently in his first pro season in North America with 29 points in 30 games played in the AHL. Nearly averaging a point per game, Olofsson has been frequently mentioned as a call-up to help boost the Sabres, despite the team’s willingness to develop young talent in the minors.
He is known for his shooting ability, which has also been said about Tage Thompson, and having two young hard-shooting forwards will be beneficial. However, since this is his first AHL season, he will likely earn seasoning in Rochester before getting an opportunity in Buffalo.
As a 23-year old, he would likely start on the third line in order to properly adjust him to the NHL while also giving him an appropriate amount of playing time in order to get a good evaluation of where his development is.