BUFFALO – High-scoring Sabres prospect Victor Olofsson has finally earned a look from the big club.
The reeling Sabres, who have lost 17 out of the last 20 games, recalled Olofsson from the Rochester Americans on Wednesday. The Swedish winger will likely make his NHL debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings at KeyBank Center.
Olofsson, 23, has enjoyed a terrific first season with the Amerks, scoring 27 goals and 60 points, both team highs, in 64 games.
That offense could certainly help the Sabres, who have scored just one goal in the last two games and been shut out four times in nine outings.
Olofsson, a seventh-round pick in 2014, 181st overall, led the Swedish Hockey League with 27 goals last season. He roared into the AHL this year, scoring five goals and 15 points in the first nine games and solidifying his place as one of the Sabres’ top prospects.
His presence should make tonight’s game a little more interesting. The Sabres, losers of four straight contests, are playing out the string. Six games are left this season.
Update: The Sabres have sent winger Tage Thompson to the Amerks.
Four months ago today, the Sabres rattled off their 10th consecutive win and stood atop the NHL. Their resurgence was the talk of the league.
After years of futility, they had finally arrived, right? Sure, they probably wouldn’t finish first overall, but they would make the playoffs, a major accomplishment by their standards.
You know what transpired over the next 51 games. Since Nov. 28, the Sabres have compiled a wretched 14-30-7 mark, the league’s worst record.
Their tumble down the standings has been nothing short of stunning.
Tueday’s ugly 4-0 loss to the hapless, 31st-place Ottawa Senators cemented March as one of the worst months in franchise history.
“We stunk up the building tonight,” Sabres coach Phil Housley told reporters in Ottawa. “We have a game plan in place, we didn’t execute it. … That’s not winning hockey.”
Incredibly, that was the Sabres’ 13th consecutive road loss, the most since the Chicago Blackhawks dropped 16 straight in 2003-04.
Just a few weeks ago, unless the Sabres totally imploded, Housley’s job seemed safe. But what do they do now?
Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the NFL owners’ meetings, Sabres owner Terry Pegula said he can justify bringing Housley back for a third season.
“He’s a young coach,” Pegula said. “He was a great player and I think he can grow as a coach.”
Despite Housley’s lack of success, Pegula, who has had five coaches in just over six years, might finally be realizing the Sabres must commit to something and stick to it.
Less than two years ago, Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman, was the league’s hottest assistant as the Nashville Predators roared to the Stanley Cup final.
“I think (general manager Jason Botterill) has said it pretty well when he he supports Phil,” Pegula said. “Phil communicates with the players well. Are we happy with how the season is going? Absolutely not. You can ask anybody on the team.
“So something has to change. We don’t know what. But we’re all going to put our heads together and talk about it.”
The Sabres haven’t made the playoffs since 2011. If the Carolina Hurricanes make it this season for the first time since 2009, the Sabres will own the NHL’s longest drought, a dubious distinction.
The Sabres had Wednesday off.