On Wednesday, April 9, the Buffalo Sabres announced that Drew Stafford will return to the lineup Thursday against the New York Rangers. Stafford had missed the previous four games with an undisclosed injury.
Forward Zenon Konopka hasn’t played since March 23, but is also ready to return to the lineup from a lingering back injury.
With Konopka and Stafford healthy, the Sabres have sent Nicolas Deslauriers and Johan Larsson to the Rochester Americans.
Defenseman Henrik Tallinder is also close to returning, and will be a game time decision Thursday night against the Rangers. Tallinder had missed the last four games with a lower-body injury.
If Tallinder is ready to go, it is likely that Mark Pysyk will be sent back to the Amerks. Pysyk had been recalled due to Chad Ruhwedel being sidelined indefinitely due to a concussion, which was suffered against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, April 6 due to a hit from Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo. Rinaldo was suspended for four games for the hit. The team is also without Alex Sulzer, who has been out with a lower body injury since March 15.
Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen is also sidelined indefinitely with a concussion, and will likely miss the last three games of the season. Lieuwen, who has a history of concussions, suffered the injury after being run into by Philadelphia Flyers forward Jay Rosehill on Sunday night. With Lieuwen sidelined and Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth already out for the remainder of the season, Matt Hackett is left as the only healthy goaltender in the Sabres’ system with NHL experience for the three remaining games on the schedule.
Defenseman Tyler Myers has not been practicing with the team since suffering a leg injury on March 25 against the Montreal Canadiens, and Coach Ted Nolan said he is likely out for the remainder of the season.
Ted Nolan also stated he has not decided whether defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen will finish the season in Buffalo or be returned to the Amerks, stating it depends on the number of healthy bodies they have available.