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Breaking down the Sabres' training camp roster

37 players will be invited to camp, which opens Dec. 31

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres have revealed their roster for training camp, which opens Dec. 31 with on-ice sessions beginning on Jan. 1. 

The roster is comprised of 20 forwards, 12 defensemen and five goaltenders for a total of 37 players. 

During the regular season, the NHL roster limit will remain 23 players with a salary cap of $81.5 million. Each team will also carry a taxi squad of four to six players that can practice and travel with the NHL roster. Teams without three active goalies must carry at least one goaltender on the taxi squad.

Here is a breakdown of the group that will compete to make the final roster, along with a one-sentence refresher on where each player stands.

 

Forwards (20) 

Rasmus Asplund, C - Second-round pick from 2016 made his NHL debut last season, appearing in 29 games with the Sabres and tallying three points (1+2).

Brandon Biro, LW - Undrafted free agent signed an entry-level deal during the offseason following a four-year career at Penn State, where he served as captain last season. 

Cody Eakin, C - Centerman hopes to provide added depth up the middle as a player capable of moving up and down the lineup, a role he previously filled with the Vegas Golden Knights. 

Jack Eichel, C - Sabres captain was on pace for a career year prior to the stoppage in 2019-20, having already set a career-high for goals (36) in 68 games. 

Video: Captains Circle: Jack Eichel and Josh Allen

Steven Fogarty, C - Signed a one-year deal after spending parts of five seasons with the New York Rangers organization, for which he captained the AHL affiliate in Hartford in 2019-20.

Zemgus Girgensons, LW - Long-tenured Sabre returned on a three-year deal after scoring 12 goals in 69 games during his first season under coach Ralph Krueger. 

Taylor Hall, LW - Former Hart Trophy winner joined the Sabres on a one-year deal, thanks in part to his relationship with Krueger and the prospect of skating alongside Eichel. 

Curtis Lazar, C - Former first-round pick found a home in Buffalo last season, carving out a full-time role after beginning the campaign in Rochester and earning a Masterton Trophy nomination. 

Casey Mittelstadt, C - First-round pick from 2017 split last season between Buffalo and Rochester, tallying 25 points (9+16) in 36 games with the Amerks.

Brett Murray, LW - Fourth-round pick from 2016 earned an AHL deal at training camp in 2019, then played well enough with Rochester to earn an entry-level contract this past offseason.

Andrew Oglevie, LW - Notre Dame product tied for the Amerks lead with 15 goals in 55 AHL games last season, his second as a pro.

Kyle Okposo, RW - Veteran forward found chemistry on the wing opposite Girgensons in 2019-20, earning praise for their tenacious, high-energy play.

Victor Olofsson, LW - Seventh-round pick completed his long path to the NHL last season, bursting onto the scene with 20 goals and 42 points during an injury-shortened campaign. 

Sam Reinhart, RW - Forward tallied 50 points (22+28) in 69 games in 2019-20, skating primarily on a line with Eichel and Olofsson.

Video: Coming This Season: Sam Reinhart

Tobias Rieder, LW - Veteran forward called signing with the Sabres a "no-brainer" thanks in part to a potential role on the penalty kill and a prior relationship with Krueger. 

Arttu Ruotsalainen, C - Finnish centerman had a memorable start to this season with Ilves of Finland's top pro league, scoring a league-high 16 goals and 27 points in 19 games before the season paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jeff Skinner, LW - Forward saw production dip to 14 goals in 59 games but led the team with 149 scoring chances at 5-on-5 (according to NaturalStatTrick.com). 

C.J. Smith, LW - 26-year-old enters fourth professional season after spending 2019-20 in Rochester, where he tallied 27 points (12+15) in 50 games.

Eric Staal, C - Veteran centerman who joined the Sabres in an offseason trade is coming off an All-Star season in 2019-20. 

Tage Thompson, LW - 2016 first-round pick started 2019-20 strong with 12 points in 16 games with Rochester but sustained a season-ending injury during his season debut with Buffalo.

 

Defensemen (12)

William Borgen, RHD - Fourth-round pick from 2015 made his NHL debut late in 2018-19 but spent last season with Rochester, tallying 11 points (1+10) in 61 games.

Jacob Bryson, LHD - Fourth-round pick from 2017 tallied 27 points (4+23) in 61 games last season as a rookie in Rochester. 

Rasmus Dahlin, LHD - Surpassed Ray Bourque for second-most points by an NHL defenseman before their 20th birthday with 84 through his first 141 games.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Rasmus Dahlin collected his 80th career point and eclipsed Ray Bourque (23-56���79) for the second-most points by a teenage defenseman in NHL history. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/dhALGU09yY

Brandon Davidson, LHD - Veteran signed a one-year deal after splitting last season between San Jose, Calgary, and AHL Stockton. 

Casey Fitzgerald, RHD - Third-round pick from 2016 battled injuries during his first pro season in Rochester, tallying eight points (2+6) in 25 contests.

Matt Irwin, LHD - Veteran hopes to provide leadership and depth after signing a one-year deal during the offseason. 

Henri Jokiharju, RHD - 21-year-old proved to be a reliable presence on the back end during his first season in Buffalo, appearing in all 69 contests and tallying 15 points (4+11).

Jake McCabe, LHD - Served as alternate captain in 2019-20, tallying 13 points (3+10) in 66 games.

Colin Miller, RHD - Defenseman moved in and out of the lineup during first season in Buffalo, appearing in 51 contests and tallying 11 points (1+10).

Brandon Montour, RHD - Returned on one-year deal as a restricted free agent after tallying 18 points (5+13) in 54 games last season.

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: The boys are back! 👊 #LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/BQOkTcwZVR

Rasmus Ristolainen, RHD - Saw his workload lightened to a still-heavy average ice time of 22:48 and turned in the best plus/minus of his career under Ralph Krueger.

Mattias Samuelsson, LHD - Second-round pick from 2018 enters first pro season after a two-year career at Western Michigan, where he served as a team captain. 

 

Goaltenders (5)

Michael Houser - 28-year-old spent last season with ECHL Cincinnati, posting a .902 save percentage in 26 contests.

Carter Hutton - Veteran had sight issues repaired during the offseason following an up-and-down 2019-20. 

Jonas Johansson - 25-year-old earned an All-Star nod with Rochester last season and made his NHL debut, appearing in six games with Buffalo.

Dustin Tokarski - Two-time Calder Cup champion signed a two-year deal with Buffalo during the offseason after spending 2019-20 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Linus Ullmark - 27-year-old assumed full-time starter duties for long stretches last season, winning a career-high 17 games and posting a .915 save percentage. 

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