BUFFALO – Jason Botterill overhauled the Sabres for the 2018-19 season, adding eight new faces and improving their depth. Still, after Scott Wilson suffered a broken right ankle Sunday, the general manager felt they needed another winger for the fourth line.
So on Tuesday, the Sabres claimed Remi Elie on waivers from the Dallas Stars.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Elie, 23, has played 90 NHL games, compiling seven goals, 21 points and 26 penalty minutes. Last season, he scored six goals and 14 points in 72 contests.
Elie made the 23-man roster comprised of 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies the Sabres released Tuesday.
NHL rosters needed to be finalized by 5 p.m. The Sabres open the season Thursday against the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center.
The Sabres reached the 23-man limit by placing four players – Wilson, forwards Johan Larsson and Sean Malone and defenseman Matt Hunwick – on injured reserve.
Zach Bogosian, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, is listed among the Sabres’ defensemen. Bogosian hasn’t practiced in a week but skated on his own Monday.
The Sabres had Tuesday off.
The roster features two rookies: defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, the first overall pick, and center Casey Mittelstadt.
Elie will wear No. 81, according to the Sabres. The Stars drafted Elie in the second round, 40th overall, in 2013.
He has compiled 16 goals and 46 points in 121 career AHL contests. He spent the final months of his junior career with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters.
Brutal starts over the past several seasons essentially buried the Sabres and ended their playoff hopes well before Thanksgiving.
A year ago, the Sabres began Housley’s first campaign 0-4-1 and 1-5-2 on their way to a meager 62-point season and a 31st-place finish.
Incredibly, in the last five seasons, the Sabres own a wretched 14-37-6 mark in October.
“We all know starts are critical,” Housley said Monday. “It sets you up for future success, it sets you up so if you do have some adversity during the season. I think what we can control is just how we work in practice and the details and the fundamentals and the execution, so if we do face those adverse situations, we’ll have something to fall back. I think our conditioning’s in a good spot. …
“What we’re focusing on is what we can control, and obviously we’ve been a big focus on our start to games, our start to periods, especially in this building. So that’s going to be key for us to get settled in right away and get comfortable and getting back to our identity as a team.”
The Sabres open the season with a four-game home stand, a first in franchise history, before starting a five-game road trip.
Of course, the Sabres have been downright awful at home in recent years. Last season, they went an NHL-worst 11-25-5.