BUFFALO – In his 90-game NHL career, Remi Elie has compiled seven goals and 21 points. The Dallas Stars utilized him as a checker, a role he will continue tonight as a fourth-line winger in his Sabres debut.
But in Elie, 23, Phil Housley sees a youngster who possesses the talents to morph into a scorer. Since the Sabres claimed him on waivers Tuesday, the coach has been praising the former second-round pick.
“I just liked the way when he gets up the ice, he sees plays,” Housley said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “He’s got good vision, he’s a really good passer, has a heavy shot. But I think he just sees a game like an offensive forward, where it’s off his stick before he gets it and it’s a flat pass. I just think he processes the game the right way.”
Housley’s words are meaningful to Elie, who will skate at left wing beside center Evan Rodrigues and Jason Pominville against the New York Rangers.
“He believes in me I can bring a lot to this team and help this team win games,” Elie said.
Check back later for more on Elie, who said he “was just shocked” when the Stars waived him.
“I didn’t expect it,” he said. “But once I got on there, I called my agent right away, he explained it to me a little bit, the process of it, and just told me to keep my head up and relax and everything’s going to come back to normal. Let me do my job and you’ll go somewhere else.”
Elie will move in because winger Vladimir Sobotka is day-to-day after suffering an upper-body injury in Thursday’s 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins.
Housley said Zemgus Girgensons will move up from the fourth line to a scoring trio beside center Casey Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo.
Tonight marks the Rangers’ first visit here since Feb. 2, 2017. They did not play here last year because the Sabres had home status in the Winter Classic at Citi Field.
Sabres goalie Carter Hutton will start in goal, his second straight nod. Henrik Lundqvist will oppose him.
Hutton is 3-0-0 with a 1.45 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage in his career against the Rangers.