Sabres players are off-limits while the NHL and NHL Players’ Association search for a collective bargaining agreement, so Buffalo’s front office is focusing on the organization’s minor-leaguers. The American Hockey League will continue as scheduled, and training camp for the Rochester Americans opens Sept. 28.
“We’ll focus on the things we have control over, which is going to be the Rochester Americans,” Darcy Regier, the general manager for the parent club and its affiliate, said by phone. “We’ll spend a lot of time as a staff with the coaches and with the scouts, kind of doing some realignment or resetting of priorities. We’ll continue to work and figure out ways to become better while we wait for the solution on the CBA side.”
The Sabres have already assigned their top prospects to Rochester. Marcus Foligno, Cody Hodgson, Brayden McNabb, Corey Tropp and Zemgus Girgensons are skating with the locked-out veterans now, but they’ll head to the Amerks next week.
“I’m hopeful that they look for the opportunity inside of this,” Regier said. “They’re going to be able to continue learning and playing, and the bulk of the players won’t have that same opportunity. It should give them a leg up, and it should allow them to continue developing and learning and working."
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was a regular in Rochester during the 2004-05 lockout, attending practices and games to get a feel for the players who’d eventually be on his team. Amerks coach Ron Rolston can expect similar visits.
“Lindy and his staff will be helping Ron and his staff,” Regier said. “They’ve already had some meetings."