BUFFALO – Some quick updates this morning from KeyBank Center, where the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Wild before flying to Penn State University:
– The Sabres will use a mix of veterans, youngsters and AHL players for the tilt at Pegula Ice Arena.
Eighth overall pick Alexander Nylander, whose early training camp play has impressed coach Dan Bylsma, will debut on the left wing beside center Cal O’Reilly and Williamsville’s Cole Schneider.
Newcomer Anders Nilsson will start in goal and play two periods before Linus Ullmark relieves him.
The rest of tonight’s forward lines and defense pairs from left to right:
– Evander Kane, Johan Larsson, Sam Reinhart
– Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Brian Gionta
– William Carrier, Giorgio Estephan, Justin Bailey
– Josh Gorges, Casey Nelson
– Brendan Guhle, Justin Falk
– Brady Austin, Erik Burgdoerfer
Burgdoerfer, 27, played five seasons in the ECHL before finally earning regular duty in the AHL. The R.P.I. product has never played an NHL preseason game.
Bylsma’s shocked Burgdoerfer hasn’t received a better look yet.
“Somebody somewhere has missed something, because the way he’s played he should be playing at a higher level,” he said.
– Center Jack Eichel, who returned from the World Cup of Hockey a few days ago, passed his physical and will skate Tuesday with the non-game group.
Meanwhile, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who’s still an unsigned restricted free agent, hasn’t reported yet. Finland was recently eliminated from the World Cup.
“I would love to have him right now,” Bylsma said. “I’m confident that will move to be getting done and he’ll be joining us at some point in time.”
Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov hasn’t skated with the Sabres since Russia was eliminated from the tournament.
Update: The Sabres today sent forwards Vasily Glotov, Brandon Hagel and Cliff Pu and defensemen Vojtech Budik, Austin Osmanski and Devante Stephens back to junior.