Casey Mittelstadt was assigned to Rochester of the American Hockey League by the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
The 21-year-old center, who was scratched in each of Buffalo's past two games, has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 31 games but one goal and one assist in his past 21 games.
"After sitting out a few games, I wanted to make sure that leading into the break that he was playing games and continuing to develop from that standpoint," Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said Monday. "So what we've tried to create as an organization is development at every level; whether a player is in Buffalo, Rochester or Cincinnati (ECHL), they're getting better. And sometimes there needs to be interaction between different parts of the organization and that's what we're doing with Casey right now.
Botterill said there was no timetable set for Mittelstadt's return.
"In our discussions with Casey, it's always an emotional conversation when you're talking to somebody with this, but what I liked was his initial respect for the American Hockey League level and the excitement of going in and playing," he said. "There's no set timeframe on, 'Hey, this is when you're going to come back,' because to me, you have to be all in with the team that you're playing with, and that's what he's going to be a part of. And we'll see how things progress from there."
Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said the goal is to get Mittelstadt's confidence back by giving him a larger role than he had in Buffalo, where he was averaging 12:46 of ice time per game.
"That's the single most important thing here at that age is to get the reps and to get the minutes," he said. "As soon as he became a candidate for being scratched, we needed to think about what was best for him as an individual, combined with that, which we need as a team long erm. So for sure, a player in that development phase needs to play."
Selected with the No. 8 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Mittelstadt has 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in 114 games for the Sabres.
NHL.com independent correspondent Heather Engel contributed to this report.