The Buffalo Sabres defense has gone through some changes in the past week, as few things remain certain with the team other than losing games. The Sabres traded T.J. Brennan to the Florida Panthers for a draft pick, and saw Alexander Sulzer head to season-ending injured reserve with an ACL injury. Andrej Sekera remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Those three things allowed the Sabres to call up Mark Pysyk from the Rochester Americans of the AHL. Pysyk made his NHL debut in Sunday’s loss to the Washington Capitals and played nearly 15 minutes.
The Sabres drafted Pysyk in the first round of the 2010 draft, after two good seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. He finished his junior career with six goals and 32 assists for the Oil Kings last season, while also joining Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. Now, in his rookie season with the Americans, he has made a smooth transition to the pro game and has four goals and 18 points. The Sabres have a lot to figure out with what’s left of the season, and getting a look at the future of their team might be one of the few positives right now. Pysyk is seeing action on the third defense pairing alongside Jordan Leopold.
The loss of Sulzer was a setback for the Sabres, as he is one of only two defensemen on the team with a positive plus-minus. Through 17 games, Sulzer was plus-3 with three goals and four points. The Sabres are currently fifth in the Northeast Division with an 11-15-4 record.