BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Sabres second-year forward Jack Quinn underwent surgery to repair a lower-body injury on Monday and is expected to be out around eight weeks, a team source confirmed.
Quinn, Buffalo’s first-round pick in 2020, sustained the injury in the Sabres’ 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday when Tomas Hertl shoved him into the boards. Quinn, 22, had played in only 17 games this season after missing the first two months recovering from a torn Achilles tendon that happened during his offseason training in June. This injury is not related to the Achilles injury and Quinn did not suffer any knee damage.
The Sabres were counting on Quinn to be an important part of their lineup this season after he scored 14 goals and had 37 points as a rookie last season. Upon returning to the lineup in December, Quinn had five goals and seven assists in the 17 games he played before this latest injury.
“Obviously the hockey side is a tremendous negative impact when you lose a guy like that, but the emotions go to the personal side,” Sabres coach Don Granato said Saturday. “You know he’s endured a lot already in a very young career. It’s a struggle.”
The eight-week timeline could keep Quinn out of the lineup until late March, at which point the Sabres will only have two weeks of the regular season left. This season has already been a struggle for Buffalo both in the standings and on the injury front. Tage Thompson missed three weeks with a hand injury early in the season. Alex Tuch also missed time with multiple ailments, including a hamstring injury. The Sabres hit the All-Star break nine points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. They don’t play another game until Feb. 6.
That leaves Granato and general manager Kevyn Adams plenty of time to figure out how to reconfigure the lineup with Quinn out. When Quinn missed time earlier in the season, Jordan Greenway got more minutes higher in the lineup. The Sabres also have veteran winger Victor Olofsson ready to backfill a spot in the lineup if needed.
Given where the Sabres are in the standings, though, it would make sense to turn to one of the young prospects they have in the AHL. Earlier in the season, Lukas Rousek and Brandon Biro were the first two forwards called up from Rochester, so they would be options. Isak Rosen, a first-round pick in 2021, and Jiri Kulich, one of Buffalo’s first-rounders in 2022, have both had productive seasons for Rochester, but both have been in scoring slumps lately. Rosen got seven NHL games when he was called up earlier this season, while Kulich got a one-game call up.
Adams could also make a trade, but any deal would likely have to be either one that could help the team long-term or one that would not require the team to part with significant future assets. The Sabres aren’t close enough to a playoff spot to justify buying a rental player on an expiring contract.
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