Tyson Jost has spent most of his career in the NHL. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

After surprising demotion to Rochester, Tyson Jost playing regularly for Sabres

BUFFALO – Tyson Jost impressed the Sabres so much after they plucked him off waivers last season that he earned regular duty and a $2 million contract. So, yes, when they waived the center in late December and assigned him to the minors – he had played just 13 games in the AHL in his career – he had a difficult time handling it.

“It was extremely tough,” Jost told the Times Herald prior to Thursday’s 4-0 win over the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center. “I mean, to be frank, I was pretty pissed off. I think rightfully so.”

Jost, who turned 26 on Thursday, never expected he would find himself in the minors. But when the Sabres needed to create roster space, he was the odd man out. After clearing waivers, he began his first stint in the AHL in five years.

He knew he could approach his surprising demotion to the Rochester Americans two ways.

“I could’ve hung my head and went down there and pouted and had a bad attitude, but that’s not my character, that’s not who I am,” Jost said. “I mean, I put a smile on my face and went and did my thing. I just tried to get better every day and found the love for the game again. …

“Yeah, it was tough. It sucked. I just tried to approach it with a positive mindset, not sulk about it and get better.”

Jost, the 10th overall pick in 2016, found a welcoming atmosphere and opportunity in Rochester.

Amerks coach Seth Appert utilized him in every situation, allowing him to develop a rhythm again after sometimes skating short minutes in Buffalo.

“The teammates were outstanding, the organization was really good down there, the coaches are incredible,” Jost said. “I’ve got nothing but great things to say about the coaching staff, especially Apps, he was amazing. He really helped me there. Just like a great person, too.

“I mean, he obviously knew I wanted to get back to the NHL and he did everything he could to help me. A credit to him. He was just awesome to me. We’re going to have a relationship for a long time.”

Heck, Jost even enjoyed the long bus rides, a staple of the minors.

“There’s no egos in that locker room,” he said. “I know everybody talks about how much the bus rides suck and stuff like that, but it was honestly kind of fun. Just a bunch of great guys, just playing cards on the bus and just laughing.”

When the Sabres recalled Jost last Friday after trading captain Kyle Okposo, he believes he returned a better player having spent 25 games in Rochester.

“When you find that flow and rhythm, you’re a different hockey player,” said Jost, who compiled four goals and 14 points with the Amerks. “So I got to do that down there and I got to work on things in my game and pay attention just like little details and stuff like that. It’s just kind of kept going when I’ve come up here. I feel great.”

Sabres coach Don Granato said Jost “accepts challenges in a very positive mind frame.”

“So he went down there with a healthy mind and (said), ‘OK, I don’t like it, I would rather be in the NHL, but this might be an opportunity to work on some things that I can get better at,’” he said. “And he’s come back really focused on things that we asked him to, and he’s better at them.”

In doing that, Jost, who has recently centered Victor Olofsson and Eric Robinson or rookie Lukas Rousek, has earned more trust from Granato.

In Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers, Granato told Jost’s line to stay out if superstar Connor McDavid’s line stepped on the ice.

“’You guys, you’re on it right now, don’t worry about a thing, just go,’” Granato said to them. “I don’t know that I would’ve been comfortable with that three, four months ago. So he’s done a very nice job of improving his game, game efficiency.

“And I think having a place to reset, Rochester as a resource, has worked very well for him.”

The Sabres scratched Rousek and defenseman Kale Clague.

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