Eight days after being hired as interim coach of the Buffalo Sabres, Ted Nolan is starting to put his imprint on the team, which has gone 1-2-0 since he took over.
Buffalo's roster shakeup started in earnest Tuesday when rookies Rasmus Ristolainen and Johan Larsson were assigned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League and Nikita Zadorov was returned to his junior team, the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
The Sabres planned to send Mikhail Grigorenko to the AHL for a conditioning assignment, but it was rejected by the NHL so Grigorenko will be back in the lineup Thursday as the Sabres take on the Philadelphia Flyers.
He'll be joined by Luke Adam and Brayden McNabb, both of whom have previous NHL experience but will be making their season debuts for Buffalo on Thursday. Adam made his mark with the Sabres in 2011-12 when he had 10 goals and 20 points in 52 games, but played four games last season.
"It's something I really focused on throughout this year, controlling what I could and not worrying about what anybody else thought," Adam said after the morning skate. "It helped me a lot, I think. I'm going to continue to do that and continue to work and get better at my game."
Adam led the Americans this season with 18 points in 15 games and was tied for the AHL lead with 13 goals when he was called up by the Sabres.
"The guys really welcomed them on the ice [Wednesday]," Nolan said. "There's not many words you can say. Just go out there and do the things that got you here."
Ryan Miller will be the starting goaltender for the Sabres against Ray Emery, who will be making his second start in the Flyers' past six games.
The Flyers are 4-0-1 in their past five games and have been working their way up the Metropolitan Division standings. They are now 8-7-2 since Craig Berube replaced Peter Laviolette as coach Oct. 7.
"I think early on we were tight in third periods and now I believe we know we can win the game and we go out and try to win it," Berube said.
Here are the projected lineups for the Sabres and Flyers on Thursday:
Matt Moulson - Cody Hodgson - Drew Stafford
Ville Leino - Tyler Ennis - Steve Ott
Marcus Foligno - Mikhail Grigorenko - Zemgus Girgensons
John Scott- Cody McCormick - Luke Adam
Tyler Myers - Henrik Tallinder
Mike Weber - Christian Ehrhoff
Brayden McNabb - Jamie McBain
Scratched: Mark Pysyk, Corey Tropp, Brian Flynn
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier - Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Steve Downie
Jay Rosehill - Zac Rinaldo - Adam Hall
Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit
Braydon Coburn - Kimmo Timonen
Erik Gustafsson - Luke Schenn
Scratched: Michael Raffl, Hal Gill, Andrej Meszaros