BUFFALO – When Sabres winger Victor Olofsson started practicing again Saturday, coach Ralph Krueger said the rookie might need another week before he could play.
But Olofsson went full tilt this afternoon, taking reps in his normal spots beside captain Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart and down low on the power play.
Meanwhile, Kyle Okposo, who returned for Tuesday’s morning skate, practiced in his regular spot at right wing with center Johan Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons.
Krueger said Olofsson and Okposo could both play in Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at KeyBank Center.
“It looks like they’re an option already for tomorrow,” Krueger said.
A lower-body injury has sidelined Olofsson the last 15 games. An upper-body injury has shelved Okposo the past six contests.
When Olofsson was injured Jan. 2, the Sabres estimated he would be sidelined five or six weeks.
Krueger said the Olofsson and Okposo will be evaluated Thursday morning.
“I felt pretty good today,” said Olofsson, who wouldn’t pronounce himself ready to play.
Olofsson quickly morphed into one of the NHL’s top rookies, scoring six goals in the first seven games and establishing himself as a Calder Trophy candidate. Overall, he has compiled 16 goals and 35 points in 42 outings.
The Sabres have compiled a 7-7-1 record without him.
In other injury news, an upper-body injury forced Sabres forward Marcus Johansson to have a maintenance day today.
“He’s definitely in a day-to-day category again,” Krueger said. “It’s not a concern long-term, big picture. If anything, it would be one game.”
After moving from center to wing, Johansson scored and added an assist in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings, ending a 14-game goal drought.
Krueger said Johansson’s injury isn’t related to the hit he took along the boards Tuesday. Illness kept Johansson from playing in Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.