Free agency time

Archive:
Ellis

Andrej Sekera might get snatched up early in free agency. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For a rebuilding team fresh off two consecutive 30th-place finishes, the Sabres’ shopping list entering free agency, which opens today at noon, is relatively small. A weekend of wheeling and dealing at the NHL Draft pretty much set the roster for the upcoming season.

The Sabres have two goalies, four forward lines and almost a full defense corps. Not bad for a team that finished 2014-15 using a patchwork lineup filled with AHL players.

General manager Tim Murray’s main target …

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Sabres general manager Tim Murray is offering Mikhail Grigorenko a two-way contract. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
9

BUFFALO – General manager Tim Murray knows 21-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko is frustrated the Sabres are offering a two-way contract. The restricted free agent dislikes the deal so much he’s reportedly fielding offers from the KHL, a league in his native Russia.

“I hear rumors,” Murray said Thursday during a news conference inside the First Niagara Center to discuss next week’s NHL Draft.

Clearly, the Sabres and Grigorenko’s camp have vastly different opinions of the youngster, the No. 12 pick in 2012.

“We …

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Zach Bogosian battles with Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby (87) on Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The roughest season in the Sabres’ 45-year history is finally over, a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday capping an 82-game slate that was tumultuous from start to finish.

The outcome, of course, hardly mattered. The rebuilding Sabres, who never quit throughout the campaign, had already locked up 30th place and either the first or second draft pick in next Saturday’s draft lottery.

The season finale was about regaining some normalcy, hearing some of those Sabres fans who …

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Ted Nolan took over the Sabres early last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Six weeks into last season, Sabres winger Tyler Ennis was struggling badly. The Xs and Os of hockey were overwhelming him and sapping the creativity from his instinctive game.

In the past, Ennis said, some coaches “limited me in terms of my creativity and what I’m allowed to do.”

Then coach Ted Nolan took over the Sabres 21 games into 2013-14.

“He’s smart in that he understands what guys can do and what guys can’t do,” Ennis said about Nolan on …

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Brian Gionta was named captain in October. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Brian Gionta has finally started scoring again. With two more assists Wednesday, the winger has four goals and 11 points in the last nine contests, his hottest stretch in more than a year.

Gionta, after months of offensive struggles, looks like the slick veteran who has averaged 26 goals in his full NHL seasons. The production has helped buoy the Sabres’ late-season goal surge and a two-game winning streak entering tonight’s tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks inside …

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Matt Ellis celebrates his first goal this season Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – It was a pretty goal, the type that can bring fans out of their seats before the puck is even in the net. Basically, it was the kind of goal Sabres center Matt Ellis never scores.

In 351 NHL games, Ellis has only 21 goals. The likable veteran hadn’t scored in 33 appearances this season prior to his nifty highlight-reel winner Wednesday in the Sabres’ 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs inside the First Niagara Center.

“Putting …

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Matt Ellis (37) skates Monday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – To Sabres center Matt Ellis, the AHL’s experiment with three-on-three overtime this season has created “a really exciting brand” of hockey.

The extra space allows players to freewheel all over the ice and have fun. Systems become an afterthought.

“The speed and the skill really shines through, the amount of open ice,” Ellis, who played 38 games in Rochester this season, said Monday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals. “It’s incredible to see it, and …

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The Sabres acquired Zach Bogosian on Feb. 11. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Zach Bogosian slipped into town under the radar last month. High-scoring winger Evander Kane and ace defenseman Tyler Myers garnered most of the attention in the Sabres’ blockbuster trade with the Winnipeg Jets, allowing the defenseman, the No. 3 pick in 2008, to quietly adjust to his new team.

“It’s kind of how I like it,” Bogosian said Thursday following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “I wanted to come here and work hard, show my worth to the …

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The Sabres acquired Jerry D'Amigo from Columbus on Dec. 16. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

TORONTO – Jerry D’Amigo understands an opportunity like the one he’s enjoying with the Buffalo Sabres doesn’t materialize very often.

Injuries and trades have opened up a regular spot on the fourth line for the 24-year-old, a hardworking winger with 25 games of NHL experience. The rebuilding Sabres are the Binghamton native’s third organization since July.

The final 16 games could be D’Amigo’s best – and last – chance to prove he deserves regular NHL duty.

“I think you get only a few …

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Mikhail Grigorenko recently returned from a knee injury. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – For once, center Mikhail Grigorenko can relax a little bit. Eighteen games are left in the Sabres’ trying season. The NHL’s weakest lineup needs reinforcements.

Grigorenko, the 12th pick in 2012, should get a long look after getting recalled from Rochester again this morning.

The Russian was excited when he saw a white practice jersey hanging in his locker today. That meant he would be centering the second line beside Marcus Foligno and captain Brian Gionta.

“I think it’s a really …

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