The news that forward Paul Gaustad is out possibly a month with a ligament tear in his thumb is an initial shock. He's part of the team's physical conscience, a guy who's good at faceoffs and is well-liked in the dressing room. He will be missed by the Sabres.
The question becomes: How much will they miss him? Surprisingly, I don't think it'll be all that much, on the ice anyway. The top three lines could look like this:
Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Maxim Afinogenov; Daniel Paille-Jochen Hecht-Jason Pominville; and Ales Kotalik-Tim Connolly-Drew Stafford.
Certainly, that's a less physical lineup now. But the Sabres' depth is at a spot where it can hold on without Gaustad for the time being.