Buffalo prospect Isak Rosen has scored 13 goals for Rochester this season. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

After recall and slump, Sabres prospect Isak Rosen scoring again for Rochester; Buffalo makes roster moves

ROCHESTER – What Sabres prospect Isak Rosen had heard about returning to the AHL following his first recall to the NHL turned out to be true.

To wit: when Buffalo summoned the Swedish winger in late November, he had recorded eight goals and a team-high 19 points in 16 games. Fresh off his strong rookie season, he had developed into one of the Americans’ drivers and top scoring threats.

Entering Friday’s road game against the Belleville Senators, he had registered 13 goals and 30 points in 47 outings for the Amerks.

When Rosen returned following a pointless seven-game stint in Buffalo, he immediately endured a 10-game goal drought. After scoring Jan. 6, he mustered just two goals over the next 18 contests.

“Everybody told me how hard it is to come down after the first time and all that,” he told the Times Herald after scoring for the second consecutive game in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Syracuse Crunch in Blue Cross Arena.

So, why did Rosen, the 14th overall pick in 2021, suddenly stop scoring?

“It’s hard,” he said. “I think it can be maybe I have more expectations on my myself after that (recall to Buffalo), of course. (You) want to go down and keep going.”

Rosen, who turns 21 on March 15, finally began busting out of his marathon offensive slump last week.

After ending his eight-game goal drought last Saturday, Rosen opened the scoring Wednesday, zooming down the slot and deking after linemate Jiri Kulich created a turnover. The goal showcased some of his slick offensive talent.

The 6-foot, 173-pound Rosen said as he began slumping, he was overthinking things and possibly too hard on himself.

So he sought advice from Amerks coach Seth Appert and assistant Vinny Prospal. They told him to find the fun and passion he possesses when he’s playing at his best.

“I’ve been trying to do that and I think it’s been better after that,” Rosen said.

While Rosen couldn’t maintain his torrid early-season production, Appert said last week he wasn’t worried about the youngster’s offensive struggles.

“He’s getting chances and he’s playing his best defensive hockey that he’s played in his career with us,” he said. “He’s one of our best penalty killers right now. All of that is added responsibility, added minutes. And (does) that take a mindset or tire you a little bit for offense at times? It might, he’s a young kid.

“But these are things that he needs to learn how to do. He’s learning how to be not a support player like he was last year. He’s got to be a go-to guy, he’s got pressure on him to drive us every night. He’s playing 18 to 20 minutes a night, he’s one of our most-minute penalty killers. He’s been excellent on the kill.”

Rosen, an AHL All-Star this season, takes solace in his ability to grow other areas of his game as he slumped offensively. Appert said the youngster’s defensive play never suffered.

“I’m really good at the PK now,” Rosen said. ‘I’ve been doing a great job with that and I did that since I came down. When you’re trying to find your game again, you’re just trying to keep it simple and be on the right side of the puck all the time.”

The Sabres, who host the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at KeyBank Center, on Friday sent forward Tyson Jost and goalie Dustin Tokarski back to Rochester.

They had the day off following Thursday’s 3-2 overtime road win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Former Sabres center Jack Eichel, out the last 18 games with a knee injury, had his first full-contact practice Friday and is close to returning for Vegas.

“I haven’t been told he’s out for tomorrow,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said following Friday’s session in Buffalo, according to NHL.com. “I don’t expect him to play but that could change.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *