BUFFALO, N.Y. - After a strong training camp, Evan Rodrigues looked to be in prime position to earn an NHL roster spot. Even though he played more games with Rochester (48) than Buffalo (30) last year, Rodrigues was an injury away from surviving final cuts after the preseason. Unfortunately for the Toronto native, he broke his hand and was out for nearly two months.
"When those things happen, it's where you show your resiliency," he said. "I did everything I could to get to back where I was in camp. I feel like I'm there now and I'm looking forward to into the game. I'm ecstatic to be back."
His teammates think he can help provide scoring on the bottom six, a group that has struggled for the Sabres this season.
"It's nice to his hand's doing well. He's been playing well down there," said Jack Eichel. "It's always nice to have him. Good buddy of mine, I think he's a really good player. I think he'll bring a good dynamic to our team. "
"You can see right now with his puck skills and vision and hockey IQ, he can make plays.," said Phil Housley, the Sabres head coach. "Hopefully that'll translate into the game."
Rodrigues returned to hockey shape with the Amerks -- he put up five goals and five assists in just eight games with the team. If those are the last of his days in the AHL, Rodrigues made the most of them.
"It's a good group of guys down there. Guys are having fun coming to the rink. They're winning, it's a good atmosphere that they've put together there," he said.
The Sabres hope that positivity rubs off on the team -- the Blue and Gold have lost 11 of their last 12 games.