Lawrence Pilut returns to the ice

October 19, 2019 - 12:07 am

Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut is back on the ice as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Pilut played for the Rochester Americans on Friday night in Cleveland, his first game action since the AHL playoffs last season.

Pilut played on a pair with Sabres prospect Will Borgen. Just getting back into the swing of things, it makes total sense that Pilut would start in the AHL. At some point, the Sabres should want to get him in their NHL lineup. Pilut was one of the Sabres better defenseman last year, and Rasmus Ristolainen has never played better than when playing with the 23-year old Swede.

Pilut was consistently a positive expected-goals-for player. He was one of the Sabres most consistent breakout passers from his own end and is exactly the type of modern NHL defenseman that the Sabres are trying to mold their blue line into. The question becomes, will there be room in the lineup for Pilut?

In my opinion there is no question that Pilut is one of the Sabres best six defenseman, but NHL teams often take the east route of scratching/sending down young, cheap players over veterans. With so many NHL caliber defenseman in the organization, and a young player like Henri Jokiharju already carving out his own spot on the Sabres roster, it seems unlikely that the Sabres will bring up Pilut, regardless of if he's earned it.

Pilut adding to an already crowded blueline gives the Sabres all the more reason to swing a trade. There's no need to have roughly a dozen NHL defenseman in your organization. Depth is nice, but what the Sabres have now is overkill. Despite Ristolainen's marginally improved play this season, he's obviously the player that still makes the most sense for a deal. It comes down to value, and the fact that Ristolainen seemingly wanted out in the offseason. Maybe his being traded could help open the door for a good young player like Lawrence Pilut to get some minutes.

Not to mention Zach Bogosian. Who knows when he may come back. There's been no concrete update on him since the Sabres stated that he'd be out 5-6 months in April. It's now been 5-6 months.

In a Friday roster move, the Sabres have sent forward Curtis Lazar to Rochester. Lazar did not play for the Sabres while up, but was on the west coast trip while Conor Sheary recovered from his injury. With Sheary back, and again scoring, Evan Rodrigues is serving as the extra forward, freeing Lazar up to return to the Amerks.

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