The Buffalo Sabres' blue line will get a boost Tuesday night with the return of Zach Bogosian from a lower-body injury. The veteran defenseman acquired in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets last season won't have it easy in his season debut as the Sabres will be taking on the high-scoring Dallas Stars on home ice.
Bogosian went down with the injury early in training camp and hasn't played in a game of any kind since the season finale last April. It should be interesting to see how he fits in with the new-look Sabres, who are starting to show signs of improvement.
When the 25-year-old blueliner joined the Sabres last year, he appeared in 21 games and notched seven assists. He also put 51 shots on goal over that span, a rate far higher than what he had been producing with the Jets.
This current Sabres roster may be more condusive to Bogosian getting involved more offensively than he was able to with the Jets.
Bogosian has never been a world beater offensively. Not since junior, at least. With head coach Dan Bylsma wanting his defensemen engaged in the attack, it should be interesting to see how Bogosian's numbers look later in the season. He appears to have the ability to produce more than he does. He had 19 goals over his first two seasons in the NHL, but hasn't topped five in a single year since.
The veteran of 414 NHL games is expected to play alongside Jake McCabe Tuesday. With the Stars being as dominant offensively as they are, he may not get many chances to contribute at the opposite end of the ice, but keep an eye on his usage down the stretch. Buffalo's blue line should be better with Bogosian on it.
In addition to Bogosian's return, Evander Kane practiced with the team for the first time since going down with a knee injury Oct. 24. He won't be back in the lineup Tuesday, but plans to travel with the team on their upcoming road trip. The forward told reporters he hopes to play in one of the Sabres' next two games, stating that he is ahead of schedule for his recovery timeline set by the team.