BUFFALO – Top Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart, the No. 2 pick in June, will make his NHL debut on Thursday against Columbus, coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon.
The 18-year-old Reinhart was among 23 healthy skaters on the ice today. NHL teams must reach the 23-man roster limit by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
While Nolan said today’s practice group was pretty close to the opening-night roster, the Sabres are still discussing moves.
The Sabres sent 20-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko and forward Zac Dalpe to Rochester earlier today. Dalpe must clear waivers.
Grigorenko, the No. 12 pick in 2012, impressed the Sabres during training camp.
“He handled it like a pro, a lot different last year than when we talked to him,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “He understood the situation. When he’s ready to go 100 percent, when he’s here, he should be here.”
Right now, the Sabres still have 19-year-old defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Reinhart and Zadorov can both play nine games before a year of their entry-level contract kicks in.
Will the Sabres use that trial?
“We can’t predict that far ahead,” Nolan said. “They’re definitely here for the next nine minutes.”
Nolan said defenseman Jake McCabe had a maintenance day today. Meanwhile, forward Johan Larsson (likely concussion) practiced today in a red non-contact jersey.