Schutz booted from Pirates ship

Per Chris Roy of the Maine Hockey Journal, Sabres prospect Felix Schutz is being designated for assignment and no longer part of the Pirates organization.

This move isn't much of a surprise, as Schutz has encountered tough treading in the AHL after a semi-successful ramp-up in the DEL three seasons ago. Chosen in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, the 5'11 center missed a good chunk of time in 2009-10 after getting KO'd in his first professional fight and from there had difficulty finding quality minutes upon return. Portland coach Kevin Dineen basically saw him as a tweener player in the bottom six mix; not quite gifted enough to consistently man a third line spot yet not having enough speed, grit, and physical wherewithal to lock down a spot on the fourth line. Because of this, he was left off Portland's clear-day roster last season in preparation for the playoffs.

Schutz, 22, returned to Buffalo this fall for training camp, where he put forth an average effort while nearly coming to blows with Nathan Gerbe in the final scrimmage of rookie camp. Nearly coming to blows seems to have been the common theme for the German this fall, as Roy mentions a near-fight with Travis Turnbull this week in a Pirates practice.

While we wait to hear where Schutz lands this season, my best guess would be a return over the pond to find his center with Ingolstadt of the DEL.
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Saturday, October 09, 2010 ×

Kris, I'm just gonna throw it out there, but do you see Luke Adam being an immediate replacement to Tim Connolly? I'd rather see a center that drives hard to the net and put the puck in than a center that tries to do too much with the puck and lost his touch. The season has only just begun but I don't think Connolly will ever be the answer. (with the amount of cap space available and with the amount that's going to free up, it will be interesting)

Kris Baker
Sunday, October 10, 2010 ×

10:47 - I honestly do not believe that Connolly is part of the blueprint moving forward, and I think this has been the Sabres plan even before that awful, awful playoff performance vs Boston. I also think it's very possible that he's moved before the deadline. I'm strongly opposed to keeping him as a lame duck past the deadline because we've seen what he does in the playoffs.

The Sabres have learned what their issues are and you've seen it in the way they've been drafting. Adam is a fantastic young player; a pure producer. I'm all about building a young core, so to answer your question about him replacing Connolly singularly, yes *conceptually* in terms of 1/1A center. I'm cautious using 'replacement' and more comfortable saying that 'Adam helps makes Connolly expendable' if that makes sense. I'm viewing him more as a key part of the Ennis-Kassian-Adam movement that is going to give the entire forward group a different identity. In reality, Ennis could actually end up being the most viable option at center to replace 19's 'element', but lots can change and right now Luke is playing the middle...

If Luke scores two and two with regularity (heck of a debut), then he's basically telling the Sabres it's OK to give him a shot as early as they're ready.

What's missing is what the Sabres get when/if they move a Connolly/dman(?) package during the year. (That's what I would do, btw.) In his last season, you better keep monitoring his value. If you're committed to not re-signing him, then commit to moving him while he's healthy...