The impending lockout will prevent most Western New York hockey fans from being able to watch most of their favorite Buffalo Sabres from lacing up their skates for the foreseeable future. But they will still have a chance to see some of the youngsters who made good impressions during stints with the blue and gold last season on the ice so long as they're willing to make a short road trip.
On Friday, Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier announced the team will loan 20 players - including wingers Marcus Foligno and Corey Tropp, centers Cody Hodgson and Luke Adam, and defenseman Brayden McNabb - to the Rochester Americans, their top minor-league affiliate.
Foligno appeared in 14 games, but it was the final 13 where the son of Sabres Hall of Famer Mike Foligno made the most impact. He had all of his 13 points, including six goals, from March 10 until Buffalo was eliminated from playoff contention in the season's penultimate game.
Hodgson was acquired from Vancouver for winger and fellow first-round selection Zack Kassian on NHL trade deadline day and finished with 19 goals and 22 assists in 83 games as a rookie.
Adam had 10 goals and 10 assists in 52 games last year before being demoted to the Amerks while in the midst of a 20-game pointless streak. Tropp provided grit during his 34 games, finishing with three goals, eight points.
McNabb had a goal and eight points and was a physical presence in 25 games when injuries pressed the rookie into the lineup.
Last June's first-round pick Zemgus Girgensons, picked 14th overall, also has been sent to Rochester.
Others who will start the year in Amerks training camp include: forwards Riley Boychuk, Brian Flynn, Jacob Lagace, Jonathan Parker, Kevin Sundher, Shawn Szydlowski and Phil Varone; defensemen Alex Biega, Nick Crawford, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Matt MacKenzie, and Mark Pysyk; and goaltenders Connor Knapp and Nathan Lieuwen.
Meanwhile, forward Kevin Porter and defenseman Nick Tarnasky must clear waivers before they can report to Rochester.
Center Mikhail Grigorenko, picked 12th overall in last June's draft, has been loaned to his junior team in Quebec. Forward Daniel Catenacci (Owen Sound-OHL) and Joel Armia (Assat-Finland) also have been loaned to their respective teams.
The Sabres also signed 6-foot-1 goalie Andrey Makarov to a three-year entry level contract. He has been loaned back to his junior team, the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, where he went 29-21-1-1 with .913 save percentage last year.
Doan staying in desert
GLENDALE, Ariz. - With owner-in-waiting Greg Jamison working on a restructured lease deal with Glendale and close to buying the Coyotes, Phoenix captain Shane Doan signed a four-year, $21.2 million contract with the team on Friday, getting the deal in just before the expected lockout.
Doan had several teams interested in his services, including the Sabres, who reportedly offered the free agent a four-year deal worth $30 million last month.