The news came out on Zach Bogosian yesterday and it wasn't good. The veteran Buffalo Sabres defenseman will miss several weeks due to a knee injury, according to coach Dan Bylsma.
For a Sabres team already missing franchise center Jack Eichel, the timing isn't too great. Expectations were modest for the rebuilding squad this season, but at some point in a rebuild, you have to start winning games. Otherwise, you're just a bad team. And the Sabres didn't go out and land Kyle Okposo in free agency to be bad.
While the Sabres have already turned the keys over to Rasmus Ristolainen on the back end, losing Bogosian means more work for rookie Casey Nelson. And maybe that's a good thing for Nelson's development, but it puts more pressure on sophomore Jake McCabe and Dmitry Kulikov, who has been up and down since the World Cup. This should be the season where the Sabres try to rack up some wins and gain confidence and Bogosian's loss hampers that.
Last night, Buffalo dropped a rare home tilt against Toronto. Historically the Sabres have dominated the Maple Leafs and really, they did carry the play for the first and third periods. Only two strikes from Mitch Marner and stellar goaltending from Frederik Andersen deprived the home side of the victory. And it may be unfair to extrapolate off one game, but Eichel and Bogosian certainly could have helped.
Bogosian has decent stats for the Sabres, but it's also his very presence that helps the young squad. Along with Josh Gorges, he's someone the younger blueliners can go to for advice, so it's a loss not having him on the bench during games. For Buffalo's sake, hopefully the injury heals quickly. And perhaps the Sabres can ride out the storm until Bogosian and Eichel return. Because there's a lot of potential in this team and getting bogged down with losses because of injuries would hurt a lot more than stitches.