Barring a trade, which seems unlikely, coach Lindy Ruff confirmed this afternoon that the Sabres will start the season with eight defensemen on their roster. Mike Weber, Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler would all have to go through waivers and the Sabres aren't likely to take that risk to get one of them back to Portland.
Based on the fact Sekera and Butler struggled to get in the lineup at the end of last season, the road is clear for Weber to be the No. 6 defenseman to join Tyler Myers, Craig Rivet, Steve Montador and newcomers Jordan Leopold and Shoane Morrisonn. Provided, of course, Weber doesn't stub his toe in the exhibition season.
"You always look at it that you can never have enough defensemen," Ruff said. "It's always tough when you have extra around but you get one or two hurt and that makes it tough on the team."
Team Seymour, backstopped by Ryan Miller, won today's scrimmage over Team Punch, 4-2, to advance to Tuesday's camp championship game, which will be a rematch of those two teams. Zack Kassian snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period with a brilliant snapshot over the shoulder of Jhonas Enroth and Cody McCormick added an empty-netter.
Kassian continues to show strong offensive skills and Ruff said he will stay with the team at the start of the exhibition schedule rather than go back to junior hockey in Windsor, Ont.
"He's had a good three days," Ruff said. "That was a heck of a shot. That combined with his toughness is hard to find. He'll definitely play some games. I think he's earned that."
Tim Connolly and Derek Whitmore scored to give Team Seymour a 2-0 lead but Cedrick Henley and Felix Schutz beat Miller to tie the game, the latter goal on a nifty Thomas Vanek feed.
Team Seymour also won the shootout, 1-0, with the only goal scored by Paul Gaustad. Enroth had the puck in his pads and went over the line with it. The camp referees first waved the goal off, then conferred and awarded it to howls of delight from Gaustad's team.
Scrimmages wrap up Tuesday in the Northtown Center of Amherst. Practice is at 9:45 and the camp championship is at 11:45. They're both open to the public.