The Sabres acquired Brandon Montour last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres believe they possess depth to handle Brandon Montour’s injury

BUFFALO – The good news for the Sabres is defenseman Brandon Montour’s hand injury probably won’t sideline him too long.

While Montour will miss the rest of the preseason, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said he should be ready “pretty soon” after the season opener Oct. 3.

The Sabres, who began training camp down three defensemen, could ill afford to lose another one, especially a point-producer capable of eating up minutes.

Then Montour, 25, left Tuesday’s ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens could be assigned to junior soon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens ready for NHL preseason debut

BUFFALO – Coach Ralph Krueger wants center Dylan Cozens to relax during tonight’s preseason opener. Throughout the recent Prospects Challenge rookie tournament, the Sabres’ top pick often tried to do to much.

“He was trying to be a different-maker every time on the ice,” Krueger said after the Sabres prepared for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The seventh overall pick knows he must calm down a little.

“I can’t be out there trying to dangle everyone and ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played 11 NHL games last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

AHL star C.J. Smith intent on sticking with Sabres this season

BUFFALO – Only about 10 Sabres forwards have roster spots locked up, meaning in a training camp filled with competition, the best battles might be taking place up front.

Among the players fighting for the four or so remaining slots are journeymen (Jean-Sebastien Dea, for example), NHL veterans (Vladimir Sobotka) and prized prospects (Victor Olofsson).

Then there’s C.J. Smith, an older (he turns 25 on Dec. 1) and often overlooked ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju spent 2017-18 with the Portland Winterhawks. ©2019, Hickling Images

Henri Jokiharju believes joining Sabres ‘a great opportunity’

BUFFALO – In January, defenseman Henri Jokiharju earned a gold medal at the World Junior Championship on a Finnish squad that featured Sabres prospects Oskari Laaksonen and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Jokiharju grew up with Laaksonen, another defenseman, in Tampere, and is one of his best friends. Jokiharju and Luukkonen, a youngster tabbed as Buffalo’s goalie of the future, played together with Team Finland at tournaments as teenagers.

After World Juniors, Jokiharju, 20, probably figured he ... Read the full article

Erik Portillo has some gaudy equipment. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres goalie prospect Erik Portillo stands out on ice

BUFFALO – You can’t miss Erik Portillo on the ice. In addition to being one of three Sabres prospects listed at 6-foot-6 on the roster, the Swede sports the gaudiest equipment of any of the six goalies in development camp.

European teams love plastering advertising everywhere, and Portillo’s Frölunda gear features plenty. Even the back of his pants have two McDonald’s logos.

But fans attending this morning’s three-on-three tournament, the conclusion of the four-day camp ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill thinks Rasmus Ristolainen can keep developing. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres GM Jason Botterill knows teams will ask about Rasmus Ristolainen

VANCOUVER – Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knows plenty of teams would like to pry away a 6-foot-4 defenseman capable of gobbling up minutes and producing points like Rasmus Ristolainen.

“We understand there’s going to be inquiries about him,” Botterill said Friday morning, hours before the NHL Draft inside Rogers Arena. “We’re open as an organization to continuing to try to find ways to improve our team. But we realize and we’re very ... Read the full article

Jack Hughes is the presumptive first overall pick. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres will have strong options early at NHL Draft

VANCOUVER – The first two picks of tonight’s NHL Draft have been set for months. Unless something wild transpires inside Rogers Arena, the New Jersey Devils will select Jack Hughes first overall and the New York Rangers will grab Kaapo Kakko second.

The 2019 draft really begins with the third pick, when the Chicago Blackhawks go on the clock.

Drafts, of course, are always unpredictable. Youngsters pegged as surefire high picks inevitably fall.

But the ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin (26) battles St. Louis' Jaden Schwartz as a rookie. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rasmus Dahlin enjoyed one of Sabres’ greatest rookie seasons ever

BUFFALO – Rookie seasons like the one Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin just enjoyed don’t come along very often.

At 18, the Swede quickly morphed into one of the Sabres’ most valuable players, taking over games with his dynamic puck-moving skills and producing offense at a historic rate.

Only one defenseman in NHL history – former Sabres star Phil Housley, who recorded 57 points as an 18-year-old in 1982-83 – compiled more points before his ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner will be 34 when his contract ends. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rewards of Jeff Skinner’s long-term contract outweigh risks for Sabres

Jason Botterill sensed he would be asked a question about 40-goal scorer Jeff Skinner’s new long-term contract, so the Buffalo Sabres general manager decided to answer it himself.

“Probably one of the next questions is going to be about giving an eight-year contract to a 27-year-old,” Botterill said of Skinner’s $72 million deal on a conference call Saturday, a day after awarding the hefty contract. “But there’s always going to be risk sometimes in doing ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger coached the Edmonton Oilers one season. ©2019, Hickling Images

World Cup coaching gig helped lead Ralph Krueger to Sabres

BUFFALO – Three years ago, in the midst of his tenure as chairman of Southampton F.C., an English Premier League team, new Sabres coach Ralph Krueger briefly returned to his roots.

Krueger, who hadn’t been behind a bench since the Edmonton Oilers fired him in 2013, took a job coaching Team Europe’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.

While Krueger wanted to remain in his role in Southampton the short hockey gig reignited his ... Read the full article