, one of three NHLers acquired by the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, was present at practice at HARBORCENTER on Thursday for his first workout with his new team.
Buffalo traded goaltender Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars for Lindback and a conditional third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Lindback manned the pipes at practice with Michal Neuvirth.
“Obviously it was a big shocker and it’s tough to see a friend go,” Neuvirth said. “We had a great relationship and I learned a lot from him.
“Now it’s time for me to show I can do the job.”
Buffalo’s next game isn’t until Sunday when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 p.m. It’s very likely that Neuvirth will be in net as the trade opens the door for him to take the reigns as the Sabres’ starting goaltender.
“Sometimes there are silver linings to everything. Enroth did well for us here. Now Neuvirth has a chance to really take his game to the next level,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “And as a goaltender, especially a young goaltender in that position, certainly he’s looking forward to it and we’re looking forward to watching him.”
Lindback has seen limited action so far this season. He’s appeared in 10 games this season and has made only seven starts. He comes in with a 2-8-0 record, a .875 save percentage and a 3.71 goals-against average.
“I kind of mentally prepared that something could happen and right now, I’m really happy that it did because I feel like I’m coming into a great opportunity here to prove myself to everyone,” he said.
At 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Lindback’s stature alone has caught the eye of scouts. Now he’ll try to prove to both himself and the hockey world that he has the ability to be a consistent goaltender in this League.
“I feel really confident,” he said. “I feel like I’ve developed every year, I got better and I feel like I’m a way better goalie now than I used to be. In my mind, that’s the most important thing. And just focus on what I can do and how I can get better and help this team win more games.”
Sabres general manager Tim Murray’s other big trade involved the organization bringing in Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and goaltending prospect Jason Kasdorf for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a first-round pick.
‘WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD’
The Sabres still have 27 games remaining in the season and with the NHL Trade Deadline not until March 2, more changes could be on the way. It’s up to Nolan and the coaching staff to make sure the team stays focused on finishing the year on a positive note.
“We’re not going to be like sacrificial lambs and just go out there and get slaughtered,” Nolan said. “We have to make sure we play together, we protect one another and work together. That’s the only way we’re going to have some kind of success.”
Mike Weber, who is now among one of the longest-tenured Sabres with seven seasons under his belt, is motivated to helping the franchise forge ahead.
“Going forward, you’ve just got to trust what we’re doing here and buy in. I’m all in and I’m here to do whatever it takes to turn this ship around,” he said.
“The sun does come out here in Buffalo every once in awhile and we need to get it back here as soon as possible. Hopefully with some of these moves and Tim saying he’s not done yet – we’re just looking forward to what we can get accomplished here and how fast we can get this thing back on track.”
Josh Gorges was given a maintenance day and did not practice. He may not be available for Sunday’s game against the Flyers.
“You never know. We’ll wait to see but right now, we’re going to give him as much rest as we possibly can and see what happens,” Nolan said.
80 Chris Stewart – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 63 Tyler Ennis
26 Matt Moulson – 17 Torrey Mitchell – 12 Brian Gionta
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 19 Cody Hodgson
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 37 Matt Ellis – 36 Patrick Kaleta
51 Nikita Zadorov – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
6 Mike Weber – 41 Andrej Meszaros
61 Andre Benoit – 24 Tyson Strachan
34 Michal Neuvirth