MALONE HAPPY TO BE BACK WHERE IT ALL STARTEDOct 8, 2021
By Suzie Cool
It’s always nice to see familiar faces on the roster for the Rochester Americans, especially when it’s a player that has a fairly established history within the organization and Western New York in general.
His teammates know him as “Mugsy” but all of us back at home recognize Amerks forward Sean Malone as the kid back playing for his hometown team being from right outside of Buffalo in West Seneca, New York.
Following three seasons in Rochester, Malone departed the Sabres organization for a one-year stint with the Nashville Predators for the 2020-21 season. His time away didn’t last long, however, and Malone found his way back home, agreeing to terms with the Buffalo Sabres in late July.
Malone has been back in the swing of things with the Sabres, getting the invite to their training camp just a few weeks prior, and has spent the past couple of days getting reaccustomed to the Flower City. In just a few short weeks, Malone is already noticing the culture within the organization, which in turn made it an attractive decision to come back.
“I like what they’re trying to build with the culture. You saw with the trades that they made in the offseason, a lot of guys went to different places and for me it was just an attractive option to come back.”
Malone returns to Rochester for his fourth season. In his three seasons prior, Malone has combined for 28 goals and 37 assists 65 points in his 169 games played as an Amerk. In his most recent season in Rochester in 2019-20, Malone set career-highs in assists (18) and points (20) while tying his career-high in goals (12) despite the year being cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WATCH: SEAN MALONE FOLLOWING TUESDAY'S PRACTICE
Since that shortened season in 2019-20, a lot has changed surrounding the Sabres organization. Arguably, one of the biggest changes for Rochester would be that of the coaching staff for the Amerks now being made up of head coach Seth Appert and assistant coaches Michael Peca and Mike Weber.
In just a few short days, Malone is already impressed with what Appert brings to practice and is excited for it to continue to add success to his game.
“From what I’ve seen so far he’s a very competitive guy and wants us to play the way that I’ve had success with. In terms of working hard, competing, really honing in on the skills that make teams difficult to play against.”
Additionally, Malone commented on the fact that he’ll get to work with Peca, a player he looked up to growing up in the Buffalo area.
“You know, ‘Pecs’ played a ton of years in this league and in the NHL and I grew up watching him. With him being a center, too, I could learn a lot from him.”
Malone then went on to add, “It’s good that the coaches have a great connection. They have that same connection with the players.”
The 6-foot-0, 197-pound forward has gone on to total 80 points (33+47) over 192 career AHL contests, including 15 points (5+10) last season as a member of the Chicago Wolves. Originally drafted by Buffalo in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Malone made his NHL debut during the 2016-17 season for the Sabres.
In his only game at the NHL level last season, Malone notched his first NHL point with an assist for the Predators on Feb. 9.
While Malone found success away from the Amerks, he added that it was nice to have a new set of eyes on him to help him continue grow in his skillset and in his confidence last season. Now that he finds himself back where he started, it makes it all that much easier to get back to where Malone left off with the Wolves last year and to continue to establish himself with a new coaching staff full of individuals he continues to look up to.
“With the familiarity of everything, it makes it a little easier of a transition then going to a different team. This past year I did well with Nashville and Chicago and I was able to establish myself there, but I think coming back and knowing the guys here makes it a lot easier than going to another new team.”