BUFFALO -- Not only did the Buffalo Sabres go through a culture change off the ice last week, they're now experiencing it on the ice as well.
The Sabres announced prior to facing the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday that they had assigned defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and left wing Johan Larsson to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. Center Mikhail Grigorenko was sent to the AHL, on a 14-day conditioning assignment. The team also sent defenseman Nikita Zadorov to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
Only 19-year-old center Zemgus Girgensons, the 14th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, survived the youth purge.
The oldest of the four players is Larsson, who is 21. The others are teenagers [Ristolainen and Grigorenko are 19 and Zadorov is 18]. The message from interim coach Ted Nolan was simple: The Sabres are too young to compete at the highest level in the NHL and they need more of a seasoned, veteran group.