Best wishes to RJ

Nikita Zadorov hurt his finger Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Cut finger to sideline Sabres rookie Nikita Zadorov 2 weeks; Top pick Rasmus Ristolainen secures roster spot

Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov cut his finger blocking a shot in Friday’s exhibition finale and is out about two weeks, coach Ron Rolston said this afternoon.

“It just kind of smashed it on the tip,” Rolston said inside the First Niagara Center.

The 18-year-old rookie had the injury stitched up, Rolston said.

Zadorov signed a three-year, entry-level contract Wednesday, although general manager Darcy Regier hinted then the Sabres would likely send the youngster back to the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights soon.

Still, the Russian, the 16th overall pick in June, impressed the Sabres throughout training camp, scoring a goal in four preseason appearances.

Rolston said the Sabres don’t have to keep Zadorov because he’s hurt.

“Will we keep him?” Rolston asked. “We’ll have to discuss that. It’s two weeks. We could have him here and he could be working out and be on the ice because it’s not anything lower body.”

At least one 18-year-old will be in the Sabres’ opening-night lineup Wednesday.

Rolston confirmed the obvious today, acknowledging Rasmus Ristolainen, the eighth overall pick in June, has earned a spot.

“I would say yeah,” said Rolston, who noted the Finn was one of the team’s best defensemen in Friday’s 1-0 loss.

In other news, Luke Adam has been sent to Rochester. The winger has to clear waivers, however.

The Sabres must reach the 23-man roster limit by Monday.

Rolston also said rookie winger Joel Armia, who broke his hand Wednesday, didn’t need surgery. The Finn’s in a cast and out about five or six weeks.

Related: Junior still likely destination for Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov after signing entry-level contract

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