With forwards Marcus Johansson and Johan Larsson still day-to-day, the Sabres will look to their back end for help up front against the Minnesota Wild tonight at KeyBank Center.
John Gilmour will dress as the seventh defenseman and play shifts on the wing. It will be the fourth appearance of the season for the defenseman, who is utilized his strong skating and offensive instincts to produce 20 goals and 54 points from the back end in 70 contests with AHL Hartford last season.
"I'm really excited, actually," Gilmour said. "An opportunity to step into the lineup, help the team win. I think with my skating and everything, I can get up ice and backcheck well and hopefully help the team win."
Between the Sabres and Rochester Americans, the Sabres have eight forwards on NHL contracts currently dealing with injuries. The list can be found below in the team's most recent injury report, released on Monday.
Coach Ralph Krueger expressed optimism that at least one of the injured forwards will be available to play in Boston on Thursday. Of players on NHL deals, Jean-Sebastien Dea and Andrew Oglevie are the two healthy options available for recall from Rochester.
Outside of summer hockey, Gilmour said he last played forward in U-18 minors. That said, Krueger explained how his skillset and the simplicity of the team's system should make for a smooth transition.
"Just the way we play with the way our D are allowed to activate offensively, but also our forwards need to at times cover up defensively, it's something where he's a smart player and he's a good skater and it's not a complicated shift," Krueger said.
"He's been a part of our meetings and system development all through this time and he understands really quickly what he needs to do there. It's a simple role. But he can help us out. He's a very good penalty killer as a defenseman and he'll be seeing multiple roles."
Video: PREGAME: Krueger
"I'll just be thinking to keep the game simple," Gilmour said. "Get pucks deep and obviously with my skating I'm just going to try to move my feet and go real fast in every zone and work hard and play safe."
Colin Miller will also re-enter the lineup on defense in place of Marco Scandella. Miller has averaged 18:41 and tallied four assists in 17 games.
Linus Ullmark will start in net.
Scouting the Wild
Minnesota sits in last place in the Western Conference at 7-11-2 coming off an overtime loss to Carolina on Saturday. Their 2.65 goals per game ranks 25th in the NHL; their average of 3.45 goals against ranks 24th.
All that said, the Wild are 3-2-1 in their last six games and are coming off a performance in which they outshot the Hurricanes, 35-28. The team features a veteran laden lineup led by center Eric Stall, who has a team-high six goals and 14 points. Zach Parise also has six goals, including two in the last two games.
Alex Stalock will start in net. He's 3-3-0 with a .903 save percentage in nine appearances this season.
Coverage on MSG begins at 6:30 p.m., or you can listen live on WGR 550. The puck drops at 7.