Buffalo, N.Y. ranks pretty high on my “sports pity” list. It seemed like the humble little ‘burgh had some good things going with Terry Pegula’s spending spree and a surprise start for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, but as per typical, things fell apart with dizzying speed.
It certainly doesn’t seem like the Sabres are in a spot to buck that trend anytime soon, either.
If there was one Sabres forward who wasn’t letting everyone down, Thomas Vanek would probably be that guy. He’s been nearly a point-per-game player with 40 in 41, so naturally he left tonight’s game with an upper-body injury and did not return.
Barring a late comeback, it looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs will keep Buffalo firmly in 11th place in the East – at best. They managed to make a late surge from a similarly bleak situation last season, but if Vanek’s injury is serious, then the Sabres might need to acknowledge the jarring possibility of missing the postseason entirely.
It all seems shocking, but then again, maybe we should have seen this coming in luckless Buffalo.
The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.
The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.
Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.
The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.
He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.
The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.
The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.
The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.
The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.
Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.
Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.
Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.
The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.
Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.