The Sabres get their last chance to impress before the regular season

September 28, 2018

Oshawa, ON (WGR 550) - Some of the young Sabres got one last chance on Friday to try to impress Jason Botterill and Phil Housley. Teams have to be under the salary cap and down to 23 players by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Lawrence Pilut did not get the chance to play. I would’ve given him the chance to jump right back in after a bad performance in Pittsburgh, but I guess they needed another look at Matt Tennyson. I still think Pilut may have done enough to make this team.

The Sabres didn’t have a real good first period and neither did some of their young players. They scored when Zemgus Girgensons tipped in a Brendan Guhle shot, but Guhle had some good plays and some bad ones.

I can see he’s trying to get up ice and was successful a few times, but after his first shift, Guhle was running around in his defensive zone. That caused a bad turnover up the wall and his partner Matt Tennyson was having trouble knowing where Guhle was. In the second period Guhle looked much more like he used to, but I don't think he's grabbed a spot on this team and could start in Rochester. One thing I love about this kid is his attitude. On the postgame show he agreed he didn't do well at the start of camp. He said he just decided thta he needed to do the things that got him where he is today, but if he's sent to Rochester, he'll be good with that.

He said he know the organization thinks a lot of him and if he goes down, he will do everything he can to get better and get back up.

Tage Thompson got in on a forecheck, but didn’t use his body to his advantage and lost the battle. Right after that, he did a big circle and the puck was gone up ice. Coaches hate that from players.

Thompson also allowed Mat Barzal to easily lift his stick and steal the puck from him. In my mind, Thompson has made a few pretty offensive plays, but overall I don't think enough this preseason to make the Sabres and should be sent to Rochester.

Housley wanted to get a look at Rasmus Dahlin on the right defense, so he and Jake McCabe switched for this game. Dahlin was left by himself trying to cover Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier after McCabe vacated his position to skate all the way out to the blue line.

Dahlin had no trouble on the right side, although his passing was just a shade off a few times. Heading back into his own zone he looked comfortable. Dahlin beat Robin Lehner five-hole to score his first goal of the preseason, but it was a play defensively I liked better. The Islanders came down three-on-one and tried a saucer pass across because Dahlin took away the pass for the layup. It’s been a long, long time since any Sabre defenseman has played that well. This may have been Dahlin's best game.

Housley gave Alex Nylander another opportunity to kill a penalty and he looked good. He did a nice job of breaking up a rush just outside of the blue line. Nylander had another good play in the second period where he used his speed to gain the zone and drew a penalty from the Islanders.

Late in the third period Nylander showed that he's doing a much better job of reading plays. He read a Islanders rush and jumped into the passing lane. The winger picked off the puck and had a breakaway.

Of course Dahlin makes the team and probably Casey Mittelstadt.

Of all the other young players, I think Nylander and Pilut are the guy that have taken jobs.