BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Buffalo Sabres assigned forward Ales Kotalik and defenceman Shaone Morrisonn to their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester after both high-priced veterans cleared waivers on Monday.
The moves came two days after both players were waived in allowing the Sabres to get their payroll under the NHL’s US$64.3 million salary cap. Buffalo was projected to be a little over $3 million over the cap, and Kotalik and Morrisonn combined to make about $5 million in the final year of their respective contracts this season.
The 32-year-old Kotalik was acquired along with defenceman Robyn Regehr in a trade with Calgary in June. It’s a homecoming for Kotalik, who was drafted by Buffalo in 1998 and eventually spent six-plus seasons with the Sabres.
The 28-year-old Morrisonn had a goal and four assists in 62 games last season, his first with Buffalo after being signed in free agency.
Earlier in the day, the Sabres assigned 14 players, including 2009 first-round draft pick Zack Kassian, to Rochester.
Kassian’s demotion was not unexpected after general manager Darcy Regier suggested last summer that he’d prefer the hard-hitting forward have more time to develop in the minors after completing his Canadian junior eligibility last season.
Among the other notable players demoted on Monday were forwards Marcus Foligno, son of former Sabres captain Mike Foligno, and Michael Ryan, and defencemen T.J. Brennan and Dennis Persson.
The moves leave the Sabres with 25 players (15 forwards, seven defencemen and three goalies) with two pre-season games remaining. They then travel to Europe next week to open their season against Anaheim at Helsinki, Finland on Oct. 7.