ROCHESTER — Luke Adam, the same Buffalo Sabres prospect whose NHL exploits early this season – three goals in his first four games and 10 tallies before Christmas – made him a Calder Trophy candidate, can’t even score much in the AHL, a league he dominated last year.
Since being demoted to the Rochester Americans on Feb. 11 in the midst of an epic slump, Adam, the AHL’s top rookie a year ago, has only four goals and 13 points in 27 games.
“Right now, his confidence offensively isn’t there,” Amerks coach Ron Rolston said Friday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial. “As soon as he nets one it’s going to change.”
That pivotal, confidence-swaying goal might’ve come Saturday in the Amerks’ playoff-clinching win against the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland, when Adam netted the late winner in a 2-1 triumph.
“There’s been some downs this year. There’s been some ups,” Adam said afterwards. “But that caps it off. That was a great feeling.”
Adam had been showing signs of busting out recently, scoring his first goal in 14 games last week. The 21-year-old thought he could’ve scored three or four goals Friday.
“It’s been building,” Rolston said about Adam’s confidence. “He’s getting more opportunities.”
Adam got results last season with Portland, compiling 29 goals and 62 points in only 57 contests. The forward figured he’d regain that soft touch again in the minors.
“Yeah, I mean, I had success at this level in the AHL last year,” Adam said. “It’s not all about goals. It’s not all about points. I definitely want to help this team.”
Then, in the same breath, Adam said, “I definitely want to score goals. I definitely want to get points.”
When injuries created an opening-night roster spot, Adam seized his early opportunities with the Sabres. He had four goals and 11 points in the first 11 games, mostly centering wingers Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek. He still kept a strong pace after the trio broke up.