BUFFALO – Mark Pysyk’s assignment to Rochester won’t last long, interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. The rookie defenseman will be back after the Americans participate in the upcoming Spengler Cup tournament in Switzerland.
Nolan said the solid Pysyk, one of the Sabres’ few bright spots this season, is capable of playing in the NHL right now.
“But is he at the mature level we think he can be? Not yet,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He needs a little bit more time to mature. He’s going to be a different send down. He’s not going down for a long time. He’s going down a few days. They’re going over to the Spengler Cup, and he’ll join us right after that.
“We’re going to try to find the best way to get him quality minutes and develop him mature-wise. He’s not a big guy yet. As we go in the season, the games are going to get tougher and tougher.”
Pysyk’s minutes had been dipping under Nolan and he was scratched last game.
“Mark Pysyk is one of those guys we feel can be a future leader on this team,” Nolan said. “‘Future’ is the word, though.”
The Sabres also sent rookie defenseman Brayden McNabb and winger Luke Adam to Rochester.
Veteran forward Kevin Porter and rookie defenseman Chad Ruhwedel have been recalled. Ruhwedel won’t play tonight against the Winnipeg Jets, Nolan said.
What has Nolan heard about the recalls?
“The same thing we’re hearing about Matty Ellis. They’re character type of guys,” Nolan said. “When you’re turning around an organization like this, you need good character guys to help some of the younger guys mature and play better and also fill in those gaps so the guys can go down to Rochester, get some really quality minutes, yet not miss too much here.”
The Sabres waived Porter, a favorite of former coach Ron Rolston, Oct. 24 after nine pointless appearances. The 27-year-old has six goals and 10 points in 13 AHL games.
“I thought there might be a chance,” Porter said about a recall. “I know they’re going to give guys shots, and they want to give some other young guys a shot.”
Meanwhile, Ruhwedel has four goals and 14 points in 26 games. The 23-year-old played seven NHL games after leaving college late last season.
“I got thrown into the fire,” Ruhwedel said about his two weeks in the NHL. “Yeah, it was a little nerve-racking at first. But I think it benefitted me a lot. I grew … a lot as a person, as a player.”
In other news, center Cody Hodgson (lower body, two games) will return. Goalie Ryan Miller will start.