Linus Ullmark enjoyed a stellar season on a bad team in 2020-21. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Losing top goalie Linus Ullmark in free agency would be huge blow to Sabres

The days of the Sabres trying to lure big-name free agents to Buffalo are over. When the market opens today, they’ll likely be bit players, focusing on filling some of their many holes and adding depth while attempting to re-sign goalie Linus Ullmark.

Ullmark’s departure would be a massive blow to the Sabres. The Swede, their backbone and MVP, earned nine of the team’s 15 wins last season in only 20 outings.

They don’t ... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Brett Murray in 2016. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Brett Murray thrilled to make NHL debut: ‘At a loss for words’

Buffalo Sabres rookie Brett Murray experienced an unconventional path to the NHL, moving backwards before taking small steps forward.

Three years ago, Murray, who made his NHL debut in Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, left Penn State and returned to junior. Before last season, after making a stronger commitment to his conditioning, he received an AHL contract.

Murray, a fourth-round pick in 2016, 99th overall, parlayed a solid rookie campaign with the ... Read the full article

Anders Bjork has played 13 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Anders Bjork feeling comfortable with Sabres, earns promotion to top line

BUFFALO – In a 14-minute stretch Tuesday, Sabres newcomer Anders Bjork erased the New York Islanders’ lead, scoring two goals.

First, Bjork redirected defenseman Colin Miller’s point shot past Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin late in the second period. Then Bjork scored from the right circle 10:56 into the third period, tying a game the Sabres would win 4-3 in a shootout.

What do both goals have in common? Bjork, 24, created them by tenaciously ... Read the full article

Michael Houser stops a shot in Tuesday’s win. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Michael Houser stands out again, helps Sabres win shootout

BUFFALO – Hours before Michael Houser’s second NHL start, interim Sabres coach Don Granato said he wasn’t concerned about his goalie becoming fatigued.

Coaches, of course, rarely use the same goalie on back-to-back nights. The position is simply too taxing.

But Granato, having lost his other goalies, needed Houser again Tuesday, a night after his big league debut. It was also his first game at any level in nearly 14 months.

Granato was confident ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark hasn’t played since April 13. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark’s return to ice ‘very pleasant surprise’

BUFFALO – After a lower-body injury sidelined goalie Linus Ullmark 15 games, he returned in late March and quickly morphed into the Sabres’ backbone again.

Then on April 13 in Boston, Ullmark, in his eighth appearance back, suffered a lower-body ailment stretching to make a save in the opening minutes. At first, he tried to play through the pain.

“When the pain never subsided and it was getting worse and worse, I couldn’t find any ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens has two career NHL fights. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens wants to use fights as tool to ignite own game

Over the past couple of games, Buffalo Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens said he has been battling the puck and unable to find any rhythm.

So when an opportunity materialized late in Tuesday’s 3-1 road loss to the New York Rangers to stick up for a teammate and fight Kevin Rooney after he boarded Drake Caggiula, Cozens pounced on it.

“The hit didn’t look too good and I wasn’t too happy with my own play ... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Matej Pekar in the fourth round in 2018. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Matej Pekar uses fight with Amerks to generate confidence

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Matej Pekar wanted to agitate Brett Gallant, so as they awaited a faceoff at center ice, he bumped into the AHL’s premier tough guy.

Gallant, of course, retaliated, cross-checking Pekar near his neck. A second later, Pekar, a rookie forward with the Americans, dropped the gloves for the first time as a pro.

Meanwhile, Gallant, a veteran with the Cleveland Monsters, registered his 107th AHL fight, according to hockeyfights.com.

It ... Read the full article

Will Borgen was injured Feb. 20. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Will Borgen nearing return, close to becoming NHL regular

BUFFALO – When Sabres defenseman Will Borgen blocked a shot with his right forearm Feb. 20 in New Jersey, he had no idea it had been fractured.

“They just kind of stitched it up because it was bleeding a little bit,” Borgen said on a Zoom call prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. “I didn’t have an excuse to not play at the time.”

So Borgen, 24, finished the Sabres’ 3-2 win ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has become Buffalo’s top offensive threat. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Casey Mittelstadt, Sabres’ other young players growing under Don Granato

BUFFALO – In his first 12 games as interim coach, Don Granato’s most telling accomplishment has been his ability to unlock potential from several of the Sabres’ young players who struggled to stay in the lineup earlier this season.

Consider that in Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, center Casey Mittelstadt, defenseman Henri Jokiharju and winger Tage Thompson scored for the Sabres inside KeyBank Center.

All three players are 23 or under and spent ... Read the full article

Steven Fogarty has an opportunity to stick in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Steven Fogarty impressing Sabres, has opportunity to stick in Buffalo

BUFFALO – There was no wild celebration. Not even a fist pump.

When Sabres winger Steven Fogarty scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday, he reacted as if he had done it 100 times. A smiling Fogarty simply raised his stick, pointed to defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and shared a few fist bumps with his teammates.

By the time he started skating back to the bench, his grin had disappeared.

“It just happened so quick and ... Read the full article