Jack Hughes could go first overall June 21. ©2019, Hickling Images

Devils thrilled to win NHL Draft Lottery; Sabres to pick seventh

TORONTO – After winning Tuesday’s NHL Draft Lottery, Ray Shero wouldn’t confirm the New Jersey Devils plan to select center Jack Hughes first overall.

Like most NHL general managers, he probably wants to respect the work his scouts have put in and leave a little suspense.

But the Devils, who own the first pick for the second time in three years, will almost certainly draft Hughes come June 21 in Vancouver.

Hughes, who has spent ... Read the full article

Jack Highes talks before tonight's NHL Draft Lottery. ©2019, Olean Times Herald

Devils win NHL Draft Lottery; Sabres get seventh pick

TORONTO – The New Jersey Devils won tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery and the right to select American center Jack Hughes first overall June 21 in Vancouver.

The Devils had the third-highest odds, 11.5 percent, for the top pick.

The Buffalo Sabres, who had the fifth-highest odds for the top selection, 8.5 percent, will pick seventh. The Sabres, of course, won last year’s lottery and drafted defenseman Rasmus Dahlin first overall.

Hughes, who has spent the ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner was the Sabres' first 40-goal scorer in 10 years. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner needs time to think about future

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Jeff Skinner needs time to decompress following a grueling 82-game season before he starts thinking about his next contract.

Sure, the 40-goal scorer said he loves playing in Buffalo. Despite the Sabres’ sorry season – coach Phil Housley was fired Sunday – he believes they’re heading in the right direction.

But Skinner, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, made sure his contract took a backseat during the season.... Read the full article

Phil Housley began his Hall of Fame playing career with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ second-half regression cost Phil Housley his job

BUFFALO – Even as the Sabres stumbled and lost their grip on a playoff spot early in the winter, it seemed like coach Phil Housley would return next season unless the team totally fell apart down the stretch.

Well, the Sabres imploded, losing 16 of 17 games before winning their final two outings. That marked the first time they won back-to-back games since Dec. 11 and 13.

On Sunday, a day after the Sabres finished ... Read the full article

The Sabres have been in a four-month slump. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Jack Eichel tries to accentuate positives of rough season

BUFFALO – After suffering eight straight losses, the Sabres enjoyed a rare opportunity to celebrate a little following Thursday’s 5-2 win, just their second victory in 17 outings.

Not only did they thump an opponent, winger Jason Pominville received a rousing ovation after scoring in what could’ve been his final home game with the Sabres, who close their miserable season tonight against the Red Wings in Detroit.

The salute to one of the franchise’s all-time ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville scored his 16th goal this season Thursday. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Fans, teammates celebrate Jason Pominville in rare Sabres win

BUFFALO – The crowd kept roaring. For more than a minute late in Thursday’s 5-2 win, the fans saluted one of their favorites, winger Jason Pominville, after he capped off an emotional day by scoring perhaps his last goal for the Sabres.

The noise wouldn’t stop after Pominville, 36, was announced as the scorer, so after receiving a signal from his teammates, one of the greatest players in franchise history skated to center ice ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson was a seventh-round pick in 2014. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Victor Olofsson earns spot beside Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – By late October, as Sabres prospect Victor Olofsson closed a stellar month in which he scored five goals and 15 points, a recall to the NHL felt inevitable.

But instead of summoning Olofsson, 23, from the Rochester Americans right away, the Sabres left the slick Swedish winger in the AHL for almost six months.

The 5-foot-11, 181-pound Olofsson, meanwhile, kept scoring and acclimating to North American hockey, cementing his spot among the Sabres’ ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson has enjoyed a terrific season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Victor Olofsson thrilled to join Sabres: ‘I’m good enough to play up here’

BUFFALO – Rasmus Dahlin has never seen a shot as lethal as the one Sabres newcomer Victor Olofsson possesses.

“He’s probably got the best shot I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” the defenseman said of Olofsson, who will make his NHL debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s unbelievable.”

Dahlin, of course, knows Olofsson well. The rookies spent last season together starring at home in Sweden for Frolunda HC. Their time as teammates ... Read the full article

Brandon Montour has played 11 games with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Newcomer Brandon Montour utilizing skills with Sabres

BUFFALO – In Anaheim, Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour couldn’t play the aggressive, exciting style he has consistently showcased in his first weeks here.

The Ducks’ conservative game constrained the speedy Montour, limiting his effectiveness.

“I got kind of caught with how they want me to play, specific areas where I was just a player on the team,” Montour said Thursday inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin never saw a live NHL game until last year. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Swedish Sabres excited about playing games in Stockholm

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin grew up far away from the NHL in Trollhattan, Sweden, a city of 46,000 about a three- or four-hour car ride from Stockholm.

“Most of my friends have never seen an NHL game before,” the rookie said Thursday inside KeyBank Center.

So the thought of playing two regular-season games in front of his family and friends next season had Dahlin smiling Thursday. The Sabres will face the Tampa Bay ... Read the full article