By John Vogl
One of the things Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan have been discussing since taking over the Sabres is the roster. You can expect it to change -- very soon.
The days of teenagers getting the keys to the car are coming to an end. Nikita Zadorov is likely heading back to junior hockey, and Mikhail Grigorenko might be alongside him. Other youngsters, such as Johan Larsson and Rasmus Ristolainen, might be on their way to Rochester.
"We have so many young guys here, and it’s almost like going back to junior hockey in some sense," Nolan said today after practice. "Patty and I have been talking for the last three, four days about that. I didn’t realize how young they really were and the positions that they’re in and the capabilities of what they can do besides playing here.
"There’s some maneuvering room we can do here. We checked the farm team, see who’s going well down there. There’s a couple players playing exceptionally well down there that deserve an opportunity. We’ve been tweaking. We’re going to meet right after this and see what we can do."
The Sabres' plan under Darcy Regier was to use young players, lose and get a high draft pick.
"We’re going to try to get this thing on proper footing going forward and putting people in position of success versus force-feeding them," Nolan said. "You see some good organizations and how they go about it. You don’t force-feed somebody and say we’re rebuild. Rebuild is important, but how you rebuild is really important.
"Like I said, Patty and I have been talking about it since we got involved. I think you can have some young kids, a few of them, but not as many as we have."