Griffith was not among the last round of cuts made by the Sabres on Saturday. The Sabres cut their roster to 27 players, but four of them are nursing injuries, which means Griffith will be part of the 23-man roster Opening Night. After a trying season during which he was claimed off waivers three times last year, Griffith has finally cracked an NHL roster as a potential regular. The diminutive but offensively gifted right winger will play on the third line with Sam Reinhart at center and Benoit Pouliot on the opposite wing, which should provide the Sabres with some depth scoring. Although Griffith possesses some tantalizing talent, he's not worth drafting in most leagues until he proves he can keep his job for the whole season and move up the depth chart.
Griffith will skate on Ryan O'Reilly's right wing on the top line Friday against Toronto, the Olean Times Herald reports. Griffith has impressed at camp so far with three points in two games, and he gets an opportunity to solidify his case for a roster spot. The Leafs will be playing a strong squad with Auston Matthews and veteran Patrick Marleau, so it'll be interesting to see how Griffith stacks up. He has the speed and skill to be a scoring winger in the NHL, but his lack of strength, tenacity and experience hurts his case. If Sam Reinhart moves back to Jack Eichel's wing, there's only one top-six role left up for grabs. Jason Pominville and Zemgus Girgensons have the inside track for that spot right now.
The Sabres are giving Griffith a chance to earn a roster spot, the Olean Times Herald reports. The 24-year-old Griffith was a star in the OHL and he's scored 202 points in 203 AHL games in his career, but his lack of size and consistency has limited him to just 58 games in the NHL. There are a few spots up for grabs, but they're mostly in the bottom six, and Griffith needs to play on a scoring line to maximize his talent. The track record of undersized scoring wingers finding success in the NHL isn't very good. Remember that former Sabre Phil Varone, another undersized forward who's had a lot of success in the AHL with 298 career points, also repeatedly failed to earn a regular roster spot when the Sabres were scoring very little and losing a lot of games. Based on his playing experience, Griffith must go through waivers, so if he doesn't find an opportunity in Buffalo, he may get it elsewhere. He was claimed three separate times during the 2016-17 season.
Griffith signed a one-year deal with the Sabres worth $650,000 at the NHL level, NHL.com's Joe Yerdon reports. Griffith is a tweener -- meaning that he's an outstanding scorer in the AHL but can't seem to crack any NHL lineups. Over the past four seasons with AHL Toronto and AHL Providence, Griffith scored 202 points in 203 games, but has only played 56 career NHL games. General manager Jason Botterill wanted to bolster AHL Rochester's lineup, and signing Griffith gives the Americans a dangerous offensive weapon, but he's also a player who can step into the NHL on a short-term basis when the need arises. The 24-year-old has an outside chance to crack the Sabres' roster, but needs to be put in a scoring role to succeed. At 5-foot-9, he's just not equipped to play a bottom-six role. His fantasy value is minimal until his role with the Sabres becomes more clear.
Griffith was claimed off waivers by the Maple Leafs on Friday, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports. Griffith has been tossed around the league like a hot potato this season, having already been waived three times, and now the original Bruin will be hoping the Buds keep him around after setting him on the wire, only for the Panthers to snag him in November of 2016. Here's a guy who blew up for 24 goals and 53 assists with AHL Providence in 2015-16, so it would behoove the Maple Leafs to give him an honest chance to shine.
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