The Buffalo Sabres got an early look at one of their prospects near the end of the season, as defenseman Chad Ruhwedel was able to play in seven games. The Sabres signed the former UMass-Lowell standout to a free agent deal for two years, and if his play this season was any indication he should have a shot at earning a roster spot in training camp.
Ruhwedel had a career-high seven goals for UMass-Lowell and recorded at least 23 points for a second consecutive season. He didn’t record any points in his time with the Sabres, but didn’t look out of place while seeing around 14 minutes of ice time per game either. His youth and the benefit of a full training camp and offseason workouts will work in his favor, while the number of defense prospects he will be competing against will make things tough on him.
The Sabres have Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff signed long-term, but after that things get interesting. Andrej Sekera is signed for two seasons, while Ruhwedel will be in the final year of his entry-level deal and Mark Pysyk has two seasons remaining on his own entry-level deal. A decent performance this season should earn Pysyk a roster spot, and if Adam Pardy and Alexander Sulzer (unrestricted free agents) aren’t re-signed, the odds for Ruhwedel improve dramatically. While it may be hard to tell how Ruhwedel fits in based on the very small sample size of his work this season, he earns high marks for making the immediate adjustment to the pro game and will definitely be a player to keep an eye on once training camp opens.