Outside Options for Life Without Alex Tuch: James van Riemsdyk
You can't replace Tuch and get the same kind of production, but Philadelphia's veteran power forward can pick up some of the slack
The mood is about to change in Buffalo.
Sabres power forward Alex Tuch is going to be out at least two weeks, and likely longer, with a lower-body injury he sustained last Friday in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers.
Tuch is the Sabres’ second-leading scorer behind Tage Thompson. His 28 goals trail Thompson’s 40 and his 62 points tie him for second on the team with Rasmus Dahlin (who also missed Sunday’s game against Washington and is day-to-day) behind Thompson’s 79. The line of Tuch with Thompson and Jeff Skinner has been one of the most productive in the NHL and the main reason why Buffalo is one of the NHL’s highest scoring teams.
The Sabres’ first look without Tuch had Jack Quinn slide into his spot on that line and the initial results were very good against Washington. Quinn’s been on a roll of late and he’s earned the opportunity to play with Skinner and Thompson. It’s a tall order to do it.
When Tuch is on the ice, the Sabres are flat out better in all aspects. Shots, shot attempts, expected goals, actual goals — all of it. What he’s doing this season cannot simply be replaced, but they’re going to have to find a way to make do.
If Quinn isn’t the guy to hold it down, there are options outside of Buffalo to be had before the trade deadline that fortunately hasn’t passed. By the time March 3rd hits, it’s a position that could be addressed by acquiring a player with a similar build and style of play in veteran Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk. He checks a lot of boxes you’d want from a pinch hitter in this situation and it’s worth examining a little closer.
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