Ryan Johnson lifts the Clark Cup last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres prospect Ryan Johnson learned game from NHL father

BUFFALO – For 11 years, Craig Johnson coached his son, Ryan, staying with the youngster from his first strides on the ice through high school.

So when Ryan, the 31st overall pick by the Sabres on Friday, left California for the junior Sioux Falls Stampede last year, it marked the first time he had been away from his father, who played 557 games as an NHL forward.

“It wasn’t hard to let him go,” Craig ... 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

The Sabres drafted Ryan Johnson 31st overall Friday. ©2019, Olean Times Herald

Follow along for live Sabres NHL Draft updates from Vancouver

VANCOUVER – The Buffalo Sabres were expected to take a goalie this year, and sure enough, they selected Erik Portillo 67th overall today in the third round at the NHL Draft.

Portillo spent last season at home in Sweden with Frölunda’s under-20 junior team, compiling a 1.90 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.

The 6-foot-6, 209-pound Portillo could play in North America next season. The junior United States Hockey League’s Dubuque Fighting Saints own ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens was excited Friday. ©2019, Olean Times Herald

Yukon’s Dylan Cozens thrilled to be selected by Sabres at NHL Draft

VANCOUVER – Growing up in Whitehorse, Yukon, a city of about 25,000 in the northwestern Canadian territory, new Buffalo Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens said making the NHL seemed impossible.

“It always felt like a far-fetched dream and not really achievable, but I believed it and I believed in myself that I can make this happen one day,” an excited Cozens, 18, said shortly after the Sabres selected him seventh overall Friday at the NHL Draft. ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens talks Friday about his unlikely path. ©2019, Olean Times Herald

Dylan Cozens completes ‘far-fetched dream’ with selection by Sabres

VANCOUVER – Growing up in Whitehorse, Yukon, a city of about 25,000 in the northwestern Canadian territory, new Buffalo Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens said making the NHL seemed impossible.

“It always felt like a far-fetched dream and not really achievable, but I believed it and I believed in myself that I can make this happen one day,” an excited Cozens, 18, said shortly after the Sabres selected him seventh overall Friday at the NHL Draft. ... 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

Dylan Cozens grew up in Yukon. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres draft Dylan Cozens seventh overall

VANCOUVER – The Buffalo Sabres selected center Dylan Cozens, a center from the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, seventh overall tonight at the NHL Draft.

Cozens, who was born and raised and Whitehorse, Yukon, would be the fourth player from the Canadian territory to play in the NHL.

The Sabres need to add depth down the middle.

The 6-foot-3, 183-pound Cozens compiled 34 goals and 84 points in 60 games last season.

Sabres general manager ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill will look at options for his first-round picks. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres will likely stay with seventh overall pick

VANCOUVER – Jason Botterill, of course, will see if the Buffalo Sabres can move up from the seventh spot in the first round of tonight’s NHL Draft.

“You always put inquiries into possibly moving up and what’s there,” the general manager said this morning inside Trump International Hotel.

Still, the Sabres will likely keep their first pick. The deep first round makes Botterill “very, very comfortable” they can grab a good prospect early.

“When we ... Read the full article

Los Angeles' Jeff Carter pursues Rasmus Ristolainen last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rasmus Ristolainen might be Sabres’ biggest trade chip

VANCOUVER – Rasmus Ristolainen has certainly showcased flashes of brilliance as the Buffalo Sabres’ workhorse defenseman.

Remember when he torched superstar Brent Burns in November to extend the Sabres’ winning streak to 10 games? What about the time he took over a game in 2015-16 against the Calgary Flames, scoring a hat trick in just a 12-minute span?

Three years ago, the Finn appeared to be taking his first steps into stardom. The Sabres, ... Read the full article