The Los Angeles Kings and Sabres each notched one-goal wins ahead of the finale of their season series in Buffalo on Sunday afternoon.
And the Sabres might have found their centerpiece who is willing to call western New York home for a long time — winger Alex Tuch.
Former Buffalo superstars Ryan O’Reilly, Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel all either lost interest in the city or the organization or grew tired of the futile seasons and eventually moved on — some voicing their displeasure emphatically.
Seemingly the Sabres’ future core piece, Eichel was named the club’s captain in 2018 but grew sullen and disinterested. The organization stripped the center of his captaincy after he failed a physical as this season’s training camp opened.
A Nov. 4 trade of Eichel to Vegas returned a package including Tuch, 25, and the Sabres are glad to have the Syracuse native back in the Empire State.
“He brings a lot of different things. The biggest unique thing is that he’s from upstate New York and he grew up a Sabres fan,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said.
A 2014 first-round pick (18th overall) by Minnesota, Tuch has produced 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 24 games since the transaction that sent him home.
“He has that passion,” the coach added. “When he puts that jersey on and goes out there, there’s a lot of meaning to him.