The Eichel Era

Brycen Martin joined the Everett Silvertips in 2015-16. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have signed defense prospect Brycen Martin to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced today.

The Sabres drafted the 6-foot-2, 199-pound Martin in the third round, 74th overall, in 2014.

Martin, 20, split 2015-16 between the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades and Everett Silvertips, tying his career highs with six goals, 31 assists and 37 points.

The Calgary native finished his four-year junior career with 21 goals, 131 points and 154 penalty minutes in 277 games. Martin made two …

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Tim Kennedy plans to play in North America again next season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
4

Former Buffalo Sabres forward Tim Kennedy thought he knew what he was getting into when he signed to play for Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, a Russian team located in a closed town – seriously, you need permission to visit – and led by a Soviet-era coach.

“I knew that going in that it was the worst city and I heard that the coach was really tough, but you figure how bad can it be and how bad can the coach be?” Kennedy said …

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Dan Lambert talks during his introductory news conference Tuesday. ©2016, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

ROCHESTER – Dan Lambert’s relationship with Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma started in the mid-1990s, during their playing days with the Long Beach Ice Dogs, a team in the now-defunct International Hockey League.

Lambert was a high-scoring defenseman and the Ice Dogs’ captain. Bylsma, meanwhile, would occasionally be sent down from the parent Los Angeles Kings.

While the two weren’t close, Lambert said they shared “a mutual respect for one another.”

“Were we best friends? No, absolutely not,” Lambert said Tuesday after being …

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Dan Lambert spent one season as a Sabres assistant coach. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

Randy Cunneyworth’s return to the Rochester Americans’ bench lasted only one season, as the parent Buffalo Sabres have reassigned the veteran coach to a player development position and named Dan Lambert his replacement, the team announced today.

Lambert, 46, is the 31st coach in the AHL club’s history. The former NHL defenseman spent last season as an assistant coach on Dan Bylsma’s staff in Buffalo.

“We had a plan in place going into last season to eventually promote Dan to head coach …

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David Leggio dazzled this season in Germany. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

Williamsville native David Leggio can laugh and smile now reflecting on a crazy seven months. A season that began with the veteran goalie sitting at home looking for work ended with him celebrating a championship wearing lederhosen following a dynamic 14-game playoff run starring for Munich WHC, a team in the German DEL.

“This was the way I hoped it would go,” Leggio said Wednesday. “It doesn’t happen often. It doesn’t always happen how you envision it.”

In perhaps the finest of …

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Auston Matthews is hockey's most coveted prospect. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

The “Shanaplan” worked.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, who stripped down their roster this season under the direction of president Brendan Shanahan and finished dead last, won tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery.

The Leafs, who had 20 percent odds for the No. 1 overall pick, will almost certainly use it to select Arizona-raised center Auston Matthews, the prize of this year’s NHL Draft.

The Buffalo Sabres stayed put in the lottery, meaning they’ll select eighth when they host the draft June 24. They had 6 …

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The Sabres lost the lottery in 2015 and picked Jack Eichel second. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Given the Sabres’ slim odds for the No. 1 overall pick in tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto – just 6 percent, thanks to their 23rd-place finish – they likely won’t win.

Heck, the Sabres owned the greatest odds to nab the No. 1 choice the last two years and lost both lotteries. Instead, they “settled” for the No. 2 selection, drafting young stars Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart.

So what might happen this year? First, let’s explain the new …

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Johan Larsson (right) battles Florida's Brandon Pirri on Jan. 5. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed center Johan Larsson to a one-year contract, the club announced today.

The deal is worth $950,000, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Larsson, 23, was set to become a restricted free agent this summer.

The Swede just finished his most productive NHL season, compiling 10 goals and 17 points in 74 games, all career highs. His five game-winning goals tied Jack Eichel for the team lead.

After months of so-so play and getting scratched, Larsson started pivoting Marcus …

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Carlo Colaiacovo enjoys mentoring young players. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Carlo Colaiacovo’s goal when he signed a one-year contract in July was pretty straightforward. Following three seasons of sporadic duty, the veteran defenseman wanted to become an everyday player again with the Sabres.

“When I signed in Buffalo, I believed that opportunity was there for me, and obviously things change,” Colaiacovo said last week.

Things changed a lot on the blue line in a hurry.

The Sabres signed Cody Franson days before training camp started. Jake McCabe, a prospect on the …

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Brendan Guhle impressed the Sabres during training camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

ROCHESTER – Buffalo Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle noticed the familiar faces throughout his late-season AHL recall to the Americans.

One game, Guhle played against tough guy Zack Stortini, who used to scrap for the defenseman’s hometown Edmonton Oilers. Another contest, Guhle faced veteran goalie Yann Danis.

“I remember I had a hockey card of Yann Danis when I was a kid,” Guhle said Friday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial following his fourth pro appearance. “It’s crazy. I think it’s really cool.”

Guhle, …

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