DETROIT - Defenseman John Gilmour earned a spot on the Buffalo Sabres roster out of training camp and has patiently waited for his chance to enter the lineup. Tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, he'll make his season debut.
The Sabres are 8-2-1 on the season and coming off a loss to the New York Rangers last night. In that game, both forward Jimmy Vesey and defenseman Marco Scandella had to leave due to injuries, and neither will play tonight.
That opens the door for Gilmour and forward Evan Rodrigues, who will make his return to the lineup.
Gilmour spent the past three years with the Rangers organization and signed a one-year deal with Buffalo on July 1. He was named to the 2018-19 AHL First All-Star Team last year after finishing the season among the AHL's top 10 defensemen in goals (2nd, 20), assists (8th, 34), points (2nd, 54) and game-winning goals (2nd, 5).
Gilmour's demeanor through the first 11 games of this season has left a positive impression on Sabres coach Ralph Krueger.
"In training camp, he definitely pushed himself into the spot that he's in. He earned it by his performance in the preseason games," Krueger said.
"Then of course you get tested in this type of situation - being on the sidelines, working extra after single practice, and skating when the others aren't and pregame skates and so on - and he's just been the ultimate professional.
"He's been nothing but supportive of his teammates and when the group's together, you don't know that he's a player that's not playing, which is a real good sign of character."
Defenseman William Borgen was recalled from the AHL on Friday and will serve as the seventh defenseman against the Red Wings. Krueger said he considers Scandella day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Linus Ullmark will start in goal and will try to help the Sabres get back on the right foot. Last night, the Rangers snapped a five-game losing streak with their 6-2 win over Buffalo. New York led 3-0 after the first period and the Sabres will look to ensure that the Red Wings, who have lost six in a row.
"Again, we play a team that's going to be all in, has a lot of speed, a lot of skill," Krueger said. '[They're] very similar to the Rangers, actually, in a lot of ways and now we need to manage it better tonight."
The Buick Game Night pregame show starts at 7 p.m. on MSG, and Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray will have the call at 7:30 on MSG and WGR 550.