With the NHL season set to commence in the next couple weeks, the Buffalo Sabres received some unfortunate news regarding their defensive depth. As initially reported by Darren Dreger of TSN, veteran reserve defenseman, Casey Nelson has made the decision to opt out of the 2020-21 campaign.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 27, 2020
The last time the 28-year-old appeared in a Sabres uniform was during the 2018-19 season, where he appeared in 38 games for the blue-and-gold. Last season, he spent the entirety of the year with the Rochester Amerks in the AHL, posting 12 points in 48 contests.
Obviously, this decision isn’t a crushing blow by any means. Still, in a year where teams will be allowed to carry “taxi squads” for COVID-19 related personnel changes (or otherwise), Nelson was a solid enough entity to be relied upon for fill-in duty with the big club.
His decision does spell some good news for young defenders like Will Borgen and Jacob Bryson as they both try to get opportunities to showcase their development at the NHL level. Nelson’s absence takes away a potential hurdle in that regard.