Jimmy Vesey spent three seaons with the Rangers. ©2019, Hickling Images

Jimmy Vesey should provide much-needed offense for Sabres

BUFFALO – General manager Jason Botterill never thought much about winger Jimmy Vesey’s history with the Sabres.

Botterill needed to add more scoring. The fact that Vesey once rejected the Sabres to become a free agent and join the New York Rangers wasn’t going to deter him from addressing a major need.

So on Monday morning, shortly before free agency opened, Botterill sent a third-round pick in 2021 to the Rangers for Vesey.

Besides, it ... Read the full article

Matt Duchene will land a huge contract in free agency. ©2019, Hickling Images

Trades, not free agents, likely Sabres’ best option for improving roster

BUFFALO – The Sabres must examine every option to improve their weak roster, so, yes, general manager Jason Botterill acknowledged, they’ve discussed some of the top free agents on the market.

It’s no secret center Matt Duchene would fill a glaring need as the No. 2 pivot behind Jack Eichel.

For a few years, even as the Sabres kept struggling, their greatest strength was up the middle.

Most teams are lucky to have one top ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart welcomed Dylan Cozens to the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Jason Botterill believes Sabres’ young talent terrific selling point

VANCOUVER – Shortly before the Sabres’ higher-ups traveled to the NHL Draft, Sam Reinhart told Jason Botterill he wanted join them during their stay in his hometown.

So one night, Reinhart met the general manager, coach Ralph Krueger and Terry and Kim Pegula for dinner.

Then on Friday, Reinhart, a winger the Sabres selected second overall in 2014, warmly greeted center Dylan Cozens after the team’s top pick left the draft floor inside Rogers Arena.... Read the full article

Aaron Huglen possesses some slick moves. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres believe they selected talented prospects at NHL Draft

VANCOUVER – Among the highlights of new Buffalo Sabres prospect Aaron Huglen on YouTube is a clip of what general manager Jason Botterill called “the Mike Legg goal.”

Last year at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, an under-18 tournament, Huglen pulled off one of hockey’s toughest moves, scoring a goal by quickly lifting the puck and wrapping it into the net.

Legg, Botterill’s teammate at Michigan, made the lacrosse-style goal famous in 1996.

“There’s a wow factor ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner was all smiles Tuesday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Comfort helped convince Jeff Skinner to sign long-term contract with Sabres

BUFFALO – For eight seasons, Sabres winger Jeff Skinner only knew one organization. He grew up with the Carolina Hurricanes, joining them as a teenager and quickly becoming the face of the franchise. He felt a certain comfort there.

So his transition here could’ve been tough. Everything was new. Even the best players often need time to acclimate.

“It was a lot of change and there was a lot of adjustments, I think,” Skinner said ... 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

Jeff Skinner is the second-highest paid Sabre. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres re-sign Jeff Skinner to eight-year, $72 million contract

In the end, the Buffalo Sabres needed to re-sign slick winger Jeff Skinner, even if it meant overpaying the 40-goal scorer.

As a 27-year-old fresh off a career season and just weeks away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, the two-time NHL All-Star possessed most of the leverage.

So late Friday, the Sabres awarded Skinner an eight-year, $72 million contract.... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner just finished a career-best season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Report: Sabres close to re-signing Jeff Skinner to huge long-term contract

The Buffalo Sabres are close to re-signing 40-goal scorer Jeff Skinner to an eight-year contact with an average annual value of around $9 million, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Update: The Sabres announced tonight Skinner has signed an eight-year, $72 million contract.

As a 27-year-old fresh off a career season and just weeks away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, the talented winger possesses plenty of leverage.

The Sabres, one of the NHL’s laughingstocks, desperately ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger talks Wednesday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger arrives in Buffalo ready for new challenge

BUFFALO – Ralph Krueger spent the last five years running a soccer team in England, so on Wednesday, his first full day in his new city as Sabres coach, he was having NHL games loaded on a laptop.

“To look a little bit deeper,” Krueger, who was hired May 15, said during a news conference in the KeyBank Center atrium.

In addition to getting up to speed on the Sabres, Krueger, 59, must examine how ... Read the full article

Alex Turcotte might not last until the seventh pick. ©2019, Hickling Images

Alex Turcotte could be attractive option for Sabres at NHL Draft

BUFFALO – In Alex Turcotte’s formative hockey years, his father, Alfie, decided his son would follow a unique development path.

Instead of jumping to elite teams stocked with top talents, Alfie made Alex, a slick center projected to be an early selection at the NHL Draft, stay put on local clubs around Chicago. His reasoning was simple.

“I cared about my kid playing hard every game,” said Alfie Turcotte, a former center who played 112 ... Read the full article