Michael Houser played two games last month after the Sabres signed him. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres waive goalie Michael Houser, make 10 other roster moves

The Buffalo Sabres this afternoon waived goalie Michael Houser and assigned nine players to the Rochester Americans, including center Peyton Krebs and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson.

The Sabres also reassigned defensemen Oskari Laaksonen and Jimmy Schuldt and forwards Brandon Biro, Brett Murray, JJ Peterka and Arttu Ruotsalainen from the taxi squad to the Amerks.

In addition, the Sabres sent goalie Aaron Dell, who cleared waivers Sunday, to their AHL affiliate. Dell just completed his three-game suspension for his illegal hit on Ottawa Senators winger Drake Batherson. The Sabres also placed defenseman Will Butcher on injured reserve.

The Sabres, who are off for the NHL All-Star break, don’t play again until Feb. 10. Krebs and Samuelsson have been regulars for the Sabres over the past several weeks. Both played in Tuesday’s 5-2 road loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Amerks host the Charlotte Checkers tonight and Friday and play a road game Saturday against the Toronto Marlies.

Houser, 29, entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol Friday, a day before he likely would’ve started the Sabres’ road game against the Arizona Coyotes.

If Houser goes unclaimed, he will likely be assigned to Rochester, where he played 11 games earlier this season.

Update: Houser went unclaimed and on Thursday was assigned to the Amerks.

The Sabres signed Houser to a two-way contract January 12, hours after losing goalies Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Malcolm Subban to injuries in the same game.

Houser started two games for the Sabres, compiling a 2-0-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage. He was the sixth goalie to play for the Sabres this season.

With four goalies sidelined and Dell suspended, Houser likely would’ve played at least two games during the three-game road trip the Sabres completed Tuesday.

But COVID-19 cost Houser, who played his first four NHL games last season, more action.

Sabres coach Don Granato said on a Zoom call Saturday the positive test was “very emotional” for Houser, who has spent most of his career in the ECHL.

“You clearly see he dreamt it a lot,” Granato said of Houser playing in the NHL. “A lot of nights thinking about the hope to be in the NHL and this cut him right out of a great opportunity. And he’s been doing well. His record has been strong and his play has been strong.”

With Houser sidelined, goalies Craig Anderson (upper body) and Dustin Tokarski (COVID-19) were pressed into action.

3 thoughts on “Sabres waive goalie Michael Houser, make 10 other roster moves”

  1. Does it seem to you that COVID-19 has become a convenient excuse for a team’s brass to move players around ( NHL – AHL) without having to be held accountable for the actual reason ?
    Also, could the rash of injuries be due to the unwillingness of the Sabres to adopt a mentality of ” team toughness ” in their overall play ? Backing off and playing soft can actually lead to more injuries since you’re always receiving the brunt of your opponent’s aggressiveness ! SHALOM !

  2. Can’t understand why Houser wasn’t the starting goaltender when they played Ottawa for the second in a week. In the previous game against the Sens Houser had a 43 save game for a win. In 2 games he had more wins than Dell all season yet Granato chose to start Dell. I just can’t believe decisions made by this coaching. Maybe there’s more to it but for me that was a no brainer. Reward the goalie that wins.

  3. Yeah, unbelievable they let him get away after 2 very impressive games. With all of the goaltending garbage that has passed through this organization, to let him go really doesn’t surprise me, par for the course.

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