Joel Armia had a shot to make the Sabres’ opening-night roster. He possesses a skill that’s lacking in Buffalo – scoring touch – and it would have been interesting to see if he’d survive the final cuts. Alas he didn’t make it intact through the exhibitions. Armia one of several No. 1 picks competing for a job is out indefinitely after breaking his hand on a slash Wednesday during the Sabres’ penultimate preseason game. “He was doing a good job” coach Ron Rolston said Thursday. “I think each game we saw improvement in how he was performing.” Armia selected 16th overall in the 2011 NHL draft totaled one goal and three points in four exhibitions. The Finnish right winger was getting a long look to start his first North American season in Buffalo. While his door is closed the window remains open for the Sabres’ other roster hopefuls. The team’s final preseason game is tonight in Carolina and the bubble players have one more shot at impressing the decision makers. “Evaluation is still going on with some spots” Rolston said in First Niagara Center. “From where we’re at there will be some tough choices we have to make. I think that’s what we want. We want guys to compete for those spots.” After long-term injuries this week to Armia and forward Corey Tropp (broken jaw) the Sabres are down to 27 players: 16 forwards nine defensemen and two goaltenders. They must be at the league maximum of 23 on Monday. “Everyone knows you’re fighting for jobs and that’s just part of the business” center Kevin Porter said. “Guys are still friends and we’re still a team here. You go out and you play your best and the coaches make the final decision.” It’s reasonable to assume there are 17 players with jobs locked up. Forwards Thomas Vanek Steve Ott Cody Hodgson Tyler Ennis Ville Leino Drew Stafford Patrick Kaleta Marcus Foligno Mikhail Grigorenko and John Scott defensemen Christian Ehrhoff Tyler Myers Mike Weber Henrik Tallinder and Mark Pysyk and goalies Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth figure to be on the roster Wednesday when the Sabres open the season in Detroit.
Armia injury a setback as Sabres assess roster
Buffalo News | Sep 27