BUFFALO – With a muscle strain sidelining winger Marcus Foligno, the 23 players on the ice this morning – 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies – could be on the Sabres’ opening night roster Wednesday in Detroit, coach Ron Rolston said.
“I don’t see it Wednesday,” Rolston said about Foligno inside the First Niagara Center. “I think he’ll be in a position tomorrow where he’ll practice. But I don’t think one day is going to help in terms of being ready.”
Foligno, who was injured last Sunday in Toronto, will likely be placed on injured reserve. The Sabres must hit the 23-man roster limit by 5 p.m.
Right now, the Sabres have three talented teenagers – winger Zemgus Girgensons, center Mikhail Grigorenko and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen – on the roster.
But another prospect, 21-year-old center Johan Larsson, might’ve outplayed those youngsters, Rolston said.
“You could argue he might’ve been the best of all those guys in terms of competitive nature and camp,” Rolston said.
Larsson skated without a line again this morning, leading to speculation he could be sent down.
“I think everybody thinks it’s disappointing to go down,” Larsson said before Rolston said the Sabres didn’t need to make a move. “But I think I played good.”
In other roster news, 29-year-old defenseman Alexander Sulzer cleared waivers today and will report to Rochester.
Rolston said forward numbers forced the Sabres to shed a defender.
“Especially up front in terms of what we were dealing with with these younger players that we want to see,” he said. “You have to balance that out with your numbers on the back end. For Sulzy, you can’t say enough about his professionalism, what he brings every day, both off the ice and on the ice. It’s just a numbers situation there for us.”
Meanwhile, Rolston still hasn’t named a new captain.
“Work in progress,” he said.
Expect one to be named Tuesday before the Sabres leave for Detroit.