One of the first changes that Ted Nolan and Pat LaFontaine made after taking over the Buffalo Sabres was to recall a handful of players from the AHL. Brayden McNabb was among the guys recalled, and he’s been logging more than 17 minutes a night on the blue line for the struggling club since he was brought up.
With hits like this one on Tomas Tatar, it’s easy to see why Nolan and LaFontaine wanted him in the NHL.
One of the knocks on McNabb over the last few years has been his unwillingness to use his size to engage physically, but he’s improved in that area a great deal over the last two seasons with the Rochester Americans. The timing on this hit is almost perfect, and McNabb does an outstanding job of taking the speedy and talented Tatar for a ride after keeping him to the outside.
Sometimes you can see younger defenders try to step up a bit too early. If McNabb had missed this check, then things could have gone downhill quickly. He tattooed Tatar though, who had chipped the puck behind the defense and was trying to win a foot race for the puck.
McNabb has been a steady producer and a strong player in the AHL for a while now, and it will be interesting to see if he finally sticks in the NHL this time around. If he keeps making plays like this one, it’ll be pretty tough for Nolan and Co. to ship him back to the Americans.