BUFFALO – While Jason Botterill mostly stayed quiet before the NHL trade deadline, the Sabres general manager knows he must eventually make major changes to his 30th-place team.
So while only one player, winger Evander Kane, left the team before Monday’s deadline, something big will likely transpire following what is arguably the worst season in franchise history.
Botterill’s words – “The group that we have right now is not working,” he said – should motivate the Sabres, coach Phil Housley said this afternoon.
“It’s a challenge right now that’s been sent out,” Housley said inside KeyBank Center.
To Housley, whose Sabres play the 43-win Lightning on Wednesday in Tampa Bay, a lot of his players “want to be here for the solution.”
“We got a lot to prove here these last 19 games,” he said.
Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly knows even with five seasons left on his seven-year contract, he could be in play for another team.
Botterill, remember, didn’t acquire or sign him.
“It’s out of my control,” O’Reilly said. “I think I have to do what I can. I want to be here. I want to be part of the solution here. I want an opportunity to stick around. I have a real good opportunity here.”
In other news, Housley said Sabres winger Kyle Okposo missed today’s practice because his wife, Danielle, went into labor. His status is unclear for Wednesday’s game.
With Kane gone and Okposo questionable, the Sabres recalled winger Seth Griffith from the Rochester Americans.
Griffith, 25, made the Sabres out of training camp, compiling two goals and three points in 18 games. He has already scored 13 goals and 34 points in 36 contests with the Amerks.