BUFFALO – When the Sabres sent center Rasmus Asplund to the Rochester Americans following an impressive training camp, it felt like he would return to the NHL soon.
Asplund, 21, turned heads during the preseason, earning a long look from the Sabres. The Swedish prospect figured to be in line for his first recall.
Sure enough, with center Johan Larsson nursing an upper-body injury, the Sabres summoned Asplund this morning.
Larsson is day-to-day, according to coach Ralph Krueger, who said the Sabres will assess the injury Saturday morning.
Krueger said Larsson is “a possibility” for Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators at KeyBank Center.
Larsson scored the tying goal with 40.1 seconds left in Thursday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Asplund practiced in Larsson’s spot this morning between Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo.
Asplund, a second-round pick in 2016, 33rd overall, tried to use his time in Rochester wisely.
“I wouldn’t say I was disappointed,” he said of going back to the AHL for his second season. “Of course, I wanted to make the team. But it’s another opportunity for me to get better and improve on my game in Rochester.
“I really think I’ve been doing that, too.”
Asplund has compiled one goal and eight points in 13 games with the Amerks. He sported an ‘A’ as a replacement for injured defenseman Zach Redmond the last two games.
“It’s huge,” Asplund said of being an alternate captain. “I had an ‘A’ on my jersey in my last year in Sweden, and I think that’s the kind of person I am and I want to be. I think it’s a bit tougher with the language and all that, but I think I’m trying to embrace that opportunity.”
Asplund said he has tried to take “a bigger role in the dressing room” this season.
“I’m trying to use my verbal skills, too – be a leader on and off the ice down there,” he said. “I think that has made be a better player, too.”
To make room for Asplund, the Sabres placed center Marcus Johansson (upper body) on injured reserve.