Corey Tropp will back in the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres, but Patrick Kaleta won’t be.
The Sabres are expected to activate Tropp from the non-roster injured list prior to their game Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks at First Niagara Center at 7 p.m. To make room for him on the 23-man roster, a move had to be made.
At noon, Buffalo announced that Kaleta had been placed on waivers.
The game against the Ducks would have been Kaleta's first since serving a 10-game suspension by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on Oct. 10.
He did not participate in the optional morning skate.
“This was a move we thought was necessary to help Pat change his game and preserve his career in this league,” Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said in a statement. “We believe in Pat as a person and we hope he will continue his career in our organization and, if the circumstances are right, with the Buffalo Sabres.”
Tropp practiced this week on a line with center Marcus Foligno and Steve Ott. He had played with Foligno in Rochester, but it’ll be the first time he’s lined up with Ott.
“We’ve been preaching hard work here and we need to bring it into a game from the opening puck drop. Work hard and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, obviously it’s been a long layoff [for me],” he said. “They’re going to happen. This game’s a game of mistakes. But it’s what you do after you make a mistake. Are you going to sit there and watch it or work your way back and try to get the puck back? It’s just the little stuff for our line. Let’s be one of the hardest working lines on the ice.”
Rookie center Mikhail Grigorenko and defenseman Jamie McBain are expected to be the healthy scratches as both did extra skating after practice.
It will be the third time this season that Grigorenko has been scratched. Sabres coach Ron Rolston has moved some of the younger players in and out of the lineup over the past few weeks. Rookie defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov have also watched a few games from the press box.
With McBain out, Zadorov would be back on the ice against Anaheim.
“I think you’re going to see that from a lot of our younger guys. They’ll probably be in at times and out at times, just like Risto was and Big Z was,” Rolston said. “I think you’re going to see that where they come out, get some perspective, go back in. It’s a part of the development process for some of those younger players.”
Jhonas Enroth was the first goaltender off the ice and is expected to start in goal.
John Scott said he does not plan to appeal the seven-game suspension handed down on him by the League for an illegal hit to the head of Boston’s Loui Eriksson on Oct. 23.
“I’m just going to kind of stick with what the League gave me and move on from there,” Scott said. “Hopefully the issue will die and we can move on from it.”
Scott said that he understands the League wants to get those types of hits out of the game and said he had a good, frank conversation with Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s Senior Vice President of Player Safety.
“I just have to be, I guess, a little more responsible with my approach on hits and err on the side of caution from now on,” Scott said. “I just gotta be a little more responsible and really pay attention to how the other player’s head lines up and if he’s vulnerable in any way.”
Since he’s 6-foot-8, Scott realizes that most times, the players he hits could be in dangerous positions. It’s something he said he’ll be mindful of from now on.
“Being a big guy, you always kind of worry about it, but it’s not something I go out there and pay attention to,” he said. “I’m just playing my game. I don’t think I’m a dirty hitter, so it’s something I’ve dealt with in my career, but obviously going forward, it’s something I’ll think about.”
The Ducks are set to play their seventh game of an eight-game road trip. They’re 3-2-1 when playing out east so far. This will be their first game in Buffalo since Dec. 21, 2010.
Rolston doesn’t expect to see a fatigued team lining up against his squad on Saturday.
“It’s part of the League I think in terms of the road trips and we’re going on one starting tomorrow. We expect them to be very good,” Rolston said. “They’re a good team, a real good team. Got a lot of dynamics to them. They’re big, they’re fast. They have a lot of talent. They’ve been playing well so they’ll be good.”