It felt inevitable. Defenseman Jacob Bryson has played just three games for the Buffalo Sabres this season, his last appearance coming Nov. 4.
Bryson, 26, began the season as Buffalo’s seventh defenseman before the emergence of rookie Ryan Johnson following a recall pushed him down the depth chart.
So on Monday, 44 days since he last played a game, the Sabres placed Bryson on waivers.
With wingers Jordan Greenway and Jack Quinn set to return from injuries perhaps as soon as tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets at KeyBank Center, the Sabres must create roster space.
If Bryson clears, he could be assigned to the Rochester Americans. He played 66 games for the AHL club during his first two pro seasons, including five appearances in 2020-21 before he graduated to Buffalo.
Update: Bryson has cleared.
The 5-foot-9, 174-pound Bryson has compiled three goals and 28 points in 173 career NHL games.
He enjoyed regular duty for almost two years before he began sitting out games as a healthy scratch last season, when he compiled a team-worst minus-24 rating. As the Sabres fought for a playoff spot, he watched five straight critical late-season contests.
Still, after the Sabres added defensemen Connor Clifton and Erik Johnson in free agency, Bryson earned a roster spot this year, showcasing a more assertive style and beating out Riley Stillman, who often played over him late last season.
Bryson is in the final season of a two-year, $3.7 million contract. The Sabres drafted him in the fourth round in 2017, 99th overall.