BOSTON -- Marc-Andre Gragnani, after three full seasons in the minors, spent the summer hoping to play for the Sabres. He got hurt on the opening day of training camp, which scuttled that plan. He's finally back in the NHL and will play tonight against the Bruins, and he's got an outline on how to stay.
"I’ve got to do what they ask," Gragnani said after the morning skate in TD Garden. "It’s pretty simple. Whatever they need me to do or ask me to do, I’ll try my best and hopefully they’ll be happy and keep me around."
It's already obvious he'll do whatever the Sabres ask. The 23-year-old defenseman will spend time tonight at forward, a position he hasn't played all year and spent only a limited time playing last season.
"I think they have me on forward, so we’ll see what I can do," Gragnani said. "I haven’t played forward all year. I was very excited and also surprised.
"I don’t want to get beat and give up anything defensively. I have to be defensively sound, and after that if I get in the offensive zone try to create scoring chances. ... Just keep it simple. Chipping in, chipping out. Keep it simple and try to somehow create offense for the team."
Gragnani, who has seven goals and 30 points in 38 games with the Pirates, will also spend time on the blue line, specifically during power plays, coach Lindy Ruff said.
"He’s done a real nice job on their power play down there, and we’re going to give him a look on ours," Ruff said. "I just want to see him play. We feel like it’s his opportunity.
"You try different things. It’s not whether we like it or not. We’re looking at if he plays defense maybe he can add a little offense to our game five-on-five. Power play, maybe he can add a strength we don’t have. He’s got real good vision back there."
The audio of Gragnani's chat and Ruff's news conference are below. Ruff's chat includes bouts of interference from a cell phone (for the record, it wasn't mine).