Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – Buffalo Sabres head coach Don Granato put lines together on Monday that he would like to see stay together for the Oct. 13 season opener against the Ottawa Senators.
“The combinations that we have here are in hopes that we don’t want to tweak things around much at this point," said Granato with two preseason games left this week.
“We’d like to see the groups that are out here get the next few days of practice and the games together.”
Here's a look at what this season’s lines could look like:
Skinner – Thompson – Olofsson
Quinn – Mittelstadt – Tuch
Krebs – Cozens – Peterka
Girgensons – Asplund – Okposo
Bjork – Sheahan – Hinostroza
Samuelsson – Dahlin
Power – Jokiharju
Bryson – Lyubushkin
Pilut – Davies
Clague – Priske
At the end of last season, Victor Olofsson finished up playing with Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner. What that does is free Alex Tuch to lend his skill and leadership to another line.
I like Tuch being on the ice with Jack Quinn, especially since Quinn has been Buffalo’s best forward through much of the preseason.
I’m not a fan of Peyton Krebs being on the wing, as I think he’s much better at center. However, somebody has to play there, and Granato wants Casey Mittelstadt and Dylan Cozens down the middle.
I am very intrigued with Krebs playing with Cozens and JJ Peterka. The Rochester Americans' leading scorer has not had a good training camp, and hasn’t looked good in the preseason games.
I think he’s been pressing, but when I asked Granato about it, he thought it was something else.
“I wouldn’t think it’s unnatural if he is, and I would think he probably is going to press," Granato said.
“He’s taking in so much information that he’s never had that I don’t know if pressing is it, or he might be more conscious than he normally is. We want to get him playing on instinct, but before he can do that, he has to learn what areas that he’s really responsible for. So I think he’s more aware of that.”
Defenseman Casey Fitzgerald missed practice on Monday, but Granato says he’s day-to-day.
"We had imaging done, and nothing showed up there," he said. "There’s nothing that’s going to keep him out other than very short-term.”
With just two preseason games left, Granato says many of his players want to play in both contests to get ready for the season.
Goalie Malcolm Subban officially cleared NHL waivers on Monday, and was sent down to Rochester.
For the second-straight year, the Sabres are adopting a puppy. Nikki was meeting the players around the dressing room, including Granato.
***Photo: Rochester Americans (@AmerksHockey)