The Buffalo Sabres made another roster move in an attempt to improve the bottom of the roster with the influx of injuries. The call this time goes to 21-year old William Carrier. The Quebec-native was a player I highlighted as someone who could be under the radar but earn a spot out of training camp. He was unable to make the roster then, but only ten games into the NHL season he’s getting his first NHL opportunity.
Big Trade Piece
Carrier came to the Sabres as part of the big prospect piece in the trade that saw franchise goaltender Ryan Miller and Steve Ott sent to the St. Louis Blues at the 2014 trade deadline. He was the first major prospect acquired by general manager Tim Murray as the rebuild was underway.
Carrier was a second-round pick of the Blues at 57th overall back in 2013. Going into his draft year in juniors, he was actually considered a first round talent. Unfortunately, an ankle injury forced Carrier to miss half of that season and drop into the second round. Injuries have pretty much been the story of his career up to this point. At the end of his final junior season in Drummondville, he reinjured his ankle, missing the final six playoff games and was unable to get a few AHL games in at the end of the season.
He’s a solid prospect, a guy that projects as a solid 2nd line NHLer. His skating was a pretty big issue last year, but he was moving better this year until the injury. He plays bigger than his size, not a big banger but will compete for pucks and is hard to knock off it. He has good poise and vision with the puck, above average hands. Not a huge upside (will probably never be a point-per-game NHLer), but a very safe pick with a bit of upside (50-70 points). -Yves Leblanc (Redline Report)
Carrier struggled with injuries again over the past two season playing for the Sabres minor league affiliate Rochester Americans. The most frustrating injury came at the end of last season that prevented him from receiving a call-up after a strong season. When the 6’1 205-pound winger has been in the lineup he’s been one of the most productive players for the Amerks. In 126 AHL games, Carrier recorded 23 goals 32 assists and 55 points. The majority of that production occurred last season with 13 goals and 30 points in 56 games.
Getting the Opportunity
After a good training camp that made Carrier one of the final cuts and a good seven-game start to his AHL season (3-1-4), the NHL call has finally come. The Sabres are looking for players who can fill out the bottom six of their lineup with the rash of injuries they’ve endured. The one positive that the Sabre can take away is that this has given them the ability to get a look at the young talent in the system. Other prospects like Justin Bailey, Nick Baptiste and Hudson Fasching have seen time with the big club.
William Carrier has a pair of goals (SH, PP) as Rochester leads St. John's 4-2 end of 2nd. Schneider, Baptiste the others.
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) October 29, 2016
Carrier isn’t the flashy type of player. He’s a prototypical power forward. He’ll use his size well on the boards and in front of the net. Carrier also has a deceptive shot and good enough speed for the NHL level. Perhaps his most appealing trait to the Sabres is his work ethic. Carrier will leave it all on the ice every night with hard work, which also makes him a very effective penalty killer.
Carrier is expected to make his NHL debut in Ottawa against the Senators this weekend, which is only about two hours from his hometown of Pierrefonds, QC. It looks like he’ll start on the wing with fellow rookie Baptiste and Derek Grant. If Carrier is able to be a productive player in his opportunity with the Sabres he has the potential to stick around, even when the Sabres are healthy.