BUFFALO – In the end, instead of recalling a forward or trading for one, the Sabres will simply utilize defenseman John Gilmour as a winger.
So for the first time since he was 15 or 16, Gilmour will skate up front tonight against the Minnesota Wild. He could also move back to the blue line, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said.
Krueger, who has five injured forwards, said Monday the Sabres could dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards.
The other option most likely would’ve been recalling someone from the Rochester Americans. The AHL club, however, only has two healthy forwards on NHL contracts: Jean-Sebastien Dea and Andrew Oglevie.
It has been a long time since the Sabres went 7-11. About 10 years ago, former coach Lindy Ruff would occasionally move Steve Montador or Andrej Sekera up front.
With centers Marcus Johansson Johan Larsson day-to-day with upper-body injuries, Gilmour’s run up front will likely last one game. The Sabres play the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
“We’re quite optimistic someone will be back Thursday,” Krueger said inside KeyBank Center.
In the meantime, Gilmour, 26, will play only his fourth game this season. The Providence College product has patiently waited for his opportunities.
“John’s been amazing in the way he’s dealt with being the extra defenseman,” Krueger said. “When he came in, he played really well. We’re pleased to find another opportunity for him in the lineup.
“He’s an energy player, he’s a good skater. We’re all so confident that he can help us out on the wing.”
Gilmour said: “I’m really excited. … With my skating I can get up ice and backcheck well.”
Gilmour said he played forward for a team one season in midget hockey.
The Sabres, who have lost lost seven of the last eight games, will make one change among their skaters, benching defenseman Marco Scandella for Colin Miller, a healthy scratch the last three games.
Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark will start, his ninth nod this season. Alex Stalock will oppose him.