The Sabres drafted Justin Bailey in 2013. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres trade Justin Bailey to Flyers for Taylor Leier

BUFFALO – Williamsville native Justin Bailey’s career in the Sabres organization is over.

The Sabres traded Bailey, a winger with 52 games of NHL experience, to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Taylor Leier late Thursday.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Leier, 23, has compiled two goals and seven assists in 55 games with the Flyers over the last three seasons.

Leier, however, has mostly played in the AHL over the past five years, scoring 56 goals ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton hasn't been winning a lot lately. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton having rough stretch after fast start

BUFFALO – On Dec. 13, goalie Carter Hutton made 25 saves in a 3-1 win over Arizona, improving to 13-8-1 in his first season with the Sabres.

At that point, Hutton’s campaign was going splendidly. The loquacious veteran had quickly become the No. 1 netminder the Sabres envisioned when they signed the career backup to a three-year, $8.25 million contract July 1.

But since then, Hutton, 33, has lost seven of his last eight starts ... Read the full article

Tampa Bay goalie Louis Domingue makes a save last season with the Sabres' Sam Reinhart close by. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres lose to Lightning, fall out of playoff spot

BUFFALO – Twenty games ago, the upstart Sabres grabbed the top spot in the NHL after winning their 10th straight contest.

At that point, 25 games into the season, the Sabres appeared ahead of schedule. While many observers believed they could possibly contend for a playoff spot, few thought they would be the league’s best team more than a quarter into the campaign.

Fast forward to today, and the Sabres have fallen hard. Yes, they’re ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has scored seven goals this season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres notes: Kyle Okposo showcasing more physicality

BUFFALO – Over the last week or two, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo has finally started showcasing signs of his old self, playing a heavier, straight-line game.

“He’s going to the net a lot better,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said prior to Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning inside KeyBank Center. “I think he’s attacking off the wing and he’s shooting a lot more.”

Not surprisingly, Okposo has started scoring a bit. After enduring ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons knows Tampa Bay well. ©2019, Hickling Images

Lightning could become one of best teams in NHL history

BUFFALO – Forty-four days ago, the first-place Sabres roared into Tampa Bay enjoying a 10-game winning streak. While they lost 5-4 and fell one point behind the Lightning, the end of their raucous run felt like the start of something special.

It seemed like the foes could be battling for the Atlantic Division’s top spot all season.

Well, since that night, the Sabres are 6-9-4. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is a stunning 17-1-1.

Yes, Tampa Bay ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has scored 29 goals this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sniper Jeff Skinner elected to NHL All-Star Game

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner will be playing for the Atlantic Division in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game.

Skinner, the NHL’s second-leading goal scorer with 29, earned a spot today as part of the “Last Men In” online voting the NHL conducted for the last week.

More than 11.5 million votes were cast, including more than 2 million Thursday, the final day of voting, according to the league.... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has been celebrating a lot this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner ready for first meeting against Hurricanes

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Jeff Skinner knows returning to Carolina, where he became the face of the Hurricanes over eight seasons, will have special meaning.

Skinner, 26, was a star from the get-go in Raleigh, scoring 31 goals and winning the Calder Trophy as a rookie in 2010-11. He surpassed the 30-goal mark two other times.

During some lean seasons, Skinner, who has already scored 29 goals in 43 games, was usually the Hurricanes’ most ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has missed three games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jack Eichel close to playing

BUFFALO – Sabres center Jack Eichel practiced this morning in his regular spot beside winger Jeff Skinner, a sign the NHL All-Star is ready to return from his upper-body injury.

“He did quite well, a pretty high-tempo, bump-and-grind practice,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “It’s good to see him out there.”

So, will the captain return for Friday’s road tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes following a three-game absence?... Read the full article

Scott Wilson broke his ankle in the preseason. ©2019, Hickling Images

Scott Wilson clears waivers, assigned to Amerks

BUFFALO – The Sabres assigned winger Scott Wilson to the Rochester Americans after he cleared waivers today.

Wilson, 26, broke his ankle Sept. 30 and hasn’t played yet this season.

Coach Phil Housley said Tuesday he wants Wilson, who began practicing with the Sabres late last month, to play games.

After the Sabres finish a three-game road trip next week, they don’t play again for 11 days. So joining the Amerks gives Wilson an opportunity ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith (left) celebrates his first NHL goal beside Kyle Okposo. ©2019, Hickling Images

C.J. Smith, Lawrence Pilut score first NHL goals, help Sabres beat Devils

BUFFALO – Early in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory, Sabres rookie C.J. Smith utilized his speed and cranked a shot off the post, a sign the speedy winger’s first NHL goal could be imminent.

Smith, 24, kept buzzing around the New Jersey Devils zone, creating more scoring chances.

“Got a little more confident tonight,” Smith said after scoring 4:14 into the second period in his sixth NHL game, a goal that put the Sabres ahead for good.... Read the full article