BUFFALO – The Sabres made their first significant roster cuts of training camp this morning, reassigning 15 players, most notably center Arttu Ruotsalainen and winger C.J. Smith.
The Sabres sent Ruotsalainen, 21, back to Ilves, a Finnish team in Liiga. Meanwhile, Smith, 24, must clear waivers before he can go to the Rochester Americans.
The Sabres also sent the following players to the Amerks, their AHL affiliate: forwards Eric Cornel, Sean Malone, Andrew Oglevie, Kyle Olson and Kevin Porter; defensemen Jacob Bryson, Casey Fitzgerald, Brandon Hickey, Zach Redmond and Devante Stephens; goalies Andrew Hammond, Michael Houser and Jonas Johansson.
Hammond must also pass through waivers.
Center Dylan Cozens, the seventh overall pick in June, is still with the Sabres.
The three-year, entry-level contract Ruotsalainen signed in May stipulates the Sabres must send him back to Ilves if he doesn’t make the NHL roster. He can return next season and try to make the Sabres.
Ruotsalainen went pointless in three preseason appearances.
Given Smith’s AHL production – 45 goals and 102 points in 119 games – it’s unclear if he will clear waivers. The UMass Lowell product has scored two goals and three points in 13 NHL outings.
The Sabres signed Smith as a college free agent late in the 2016-17 season.
Smith scored one goal in three preseason games, an empty-netter in Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Sabres coach Ralph Krueger played Ruotsalainen and Smith on Friday and Saturday to get an extra look at the youngsters.
The Sabres, who are off today, have 31 healthy players left in camp.
The Amerks open their camp Monday.
One thought on “Sabres reassign 15 players, including Arttu Ruotsalainen, C.J. Smith”
Stupid decision…Smith deserves a chance in the NHL, he’s done everything asked of him and he’s improved every season.
He will be claimed on waivers…another wasted asset by the incompetent Jason Botterill.
(And why the hell would you sign a player that can’t even play in your organization this season, or possibly next season? The fact Botterill hasn’t signed any NCAA players, besides the uninspiring Andrew Oglevie, also shows how awful he is as a GM.)