While the Sabres are on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned, their farm team is in a playoff spot which is borderline amazing when you take into account call ups and injuries that have depleted the Rochester Americans lineup.
The Amerks are tied for fifth in the American Hockey League’s Western Conference, three points ahead of the ninth place team with six games remaining.
This despite seeing key players like Kevin Porter, TJ Brennan, Brian Flynn, Mark Pysyk, Adam Pardy and most recently Luke Adam, head off to the Sabres. The call ups weren’t limited to the roster as the Amerks have made due without their Head Coach, Ron Rolston, since he took over for Lindy Ruff.
In addition, standout defenseman Brayden McNabb has been lost for the rest of the season due to an injury and gritty winger Corey Tropp missed most of the season due to a torn ACL. Tropp just returned to the Amerks lineup last week, way ahead of schedule.
Why have the Amerks been able to win games and stay in a playoff spot through all of this? The answer is David Leggio, their goaltender. The Williamsville native and St. Joe’s product has stood on his head in many games this season and stolen his team points.
Leggio has played in 59 of Rochester’s 70 games, a larger work load than any other goalie in the AHL. He’s faced over 19 hundred shots, which is about 600 more than the next highest total, and his save percentage is an impressive .924.
Other players of interest on the Amerks include 2012 first round draft pick Zemgus Girgensons who has five goals and 16 points in 55 games.
Defenseman Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, a third round pick in 2010, has three goals and seven points in 42 games.
Newly acquired Johan Larsson has a goal and an assist in his first three games and Matt Hackett’s debut as an Amerk was a strong one as he kicked aside 39 of 41 shots in a win over Albany.
If the Amerks make the playoffs and the Sabres do not, there will be reinforcements. Pysyk, Flynn and Adam will all be returned to Rochester when the Sabres season comes to an end.
Center Justin Kea, a member of the Sabres 2012 draft class has been signed to an amateur tryout and is with the Amerks but its uncertain if Kea will see any action.
Even though the University of Wisconsin’s season is over, defenseman Jake McCabe is not expected to sign a contract and turn pro at this time. McCabe reportedly wants to finish his eligibility at Wisconsin.
If you’d like to see the Amerks, there are three more home games in the regular season. On Friday, the Amerks will play Oklahoma City. Toronto will visit on April 19th and Hamilton will face the Amerks on April 20th.