The 19-year-old is too young to be assigned to the AHL’s Rochester Americans, which would probably be that middle-of-the-road path between competition the Sabres likely believe is over his head in the NHL vs. opponents who probably don’t push him enough at the junior level.
The numbers make the argument pretty plainly. He had 85 points in 59 games in the QMJHL in 2011-12 and 54 in 33 games with the Ramparts last season. Conversely, he only has eight points in 43 games split between the last two seasons in the NHL with Buffalo.
Does this mean the awkwardness is over? No, but the two sides can gather themselves and try to mend the fences as the process goes along. (Assuming new GM Tim Murray doesn’t have a trick up his sleeve, of course.)