C.J. Smith is an AHL star. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres reassign 15 players, including Arttu Ruotsalainen, C.J. Smith

BUFFALO – The Sabres made their first significant roster cuts of training camp this morning, reassigning 15 players, most notably center Arttu Ruotsalainen and winger C.J. Smith.

The Sabres sent Ruotsalainen, 21, back to Ilves, a Finnish team in Liiga. Meanwhile, Smith, 24, must clear waivers before he can go to the Rochester Americans.

The Sabres also sent the following players to the Amerks, their AHL affiliate: forwards Eric Cornel, Sean Malone, Andrew Oglevie, ... Read the full article

The Sabres acquired Brandon Montour last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres believe they possess depth to handle Brandon Montour’s injury

BUFFALO – The good news for the Sabres is defenseman Brandon Montour’s hand injury probably won’t sideline him too long.

While Montour will miss the rest of the preseason, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said he should be ready “pretty soon” after the season opener Oct. 3.

The Sabres, who began training camp down three defensemen, could ill afford to lose another one, especially a point-producer capable of eating up minutes.

Then Montour, 25, left Tuesday’s ... Read the full article

Brandon Montour joined the Sabres last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Brandon Montour out with hand injury

BUFFALO – A hand injury will sideline Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour the rest of the preseason, the team announced this morning.

Montour, 25, was injured in the third period of Tuesday’s 4-1 preseason road loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Sabres expect Montour, an acquisition from the Anaheim Ducks last season, to be a one of their top defensemen this year.... Read the full article

Matej Pekar loves to be an agitater. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Matej Pekar thrilled to earn spot in NHL exhibition game

BUFFALO – Matej Pekar acknowledged he had been thinking about this opportunity. Sure, it’s just an NHL preseason game. But for the Sabres prospect, tonight’s exhibition represents another small milestone.

“It’s happening,” Pekar said after he prepared for the Sabres’ road contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets, his preseason NHL debut. “I just have to be ready for it.”

While Pekar, 19, is probably a longshot to crack the Sabres, his mix of skill and ... Read the full article

Casey Fitzgerald turned pro late last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Casey Fitzgerald showcases speed, fighting skills

BUFFALO – After watching his son, Casey, unleash some wild haymakers Monday afternoon, Tom Fitzgerald congratulated the Sabres prospect on his first pro fight.

“He just said, ‘Good scrap, you didn’t get that from me, you got that from your mother,’” Casey Fitzgerald said of his father, who played 1,097 NHL games. “I got a good laugh from that. It was good to see him after, have him here.”

Tom Fitzgerald fought just seven times ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored a career-high 40 goals in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill knows Jeff Skinner interested to see coach

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill understands 40-goal winger Jeff Skinner needed to know something important before making a huge decision.

“If you’re going to sign a long-term contract with an organization, you kind of want to know who the head coach is,” Botterill said Wednesday after announcing Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history.

Skinner, who turns 27 on Thursday, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Until ... Read the full article

Casey Fitzgerald spent four seasons at Boston College. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sign Casey Fitzgerald to entry-level contract

The Buffalo Sabres have signed defense prospect Casey Fitzgerald to a two-year, entry-level contract, the team announced tonight.

Fitzgerald, 22, recently completed his senior season at Boston College.

The former third-round pick will report to the Rochester Americans and play in the AHL on an amateur tryout agreement the rest of the season. His contract, which carries an average annual value of $925,000, will kick in next season.... Read the full article

The Sabres drafted Casey Fitzgerald in June. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Versatility could earn Sabres prospect Casey Fitzgerald spot with USA

BUFFALO – If you ask a hockey prospect who he tries to emulate on the ice, most will name some of the NHL’s top talent, perhaps a superstar.

Then there’s Casey Fitzgerald, a 5-foot-11, 187-pound defenseman the Sabres drafted in the third round, 86th overall, in June.

Years ago, before Fitzgerald’s father, Tom, joined New Jersey’s front office as assistant general manger, he told his son to watch defenseman Andy Greene, the Devils’ ... Read the full article

Joe Cecconi made the first cut in Plymouth, Mich., and will go to another USA Hockey camp in Buffalo. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Photo: Youngstown’s Joe Cecconi with Team USA

Right now, Youngstown native Joe Cecconi is participating in USA Hockey’s national junior evaluation camp in Plymouth, Mich., about a 20-minute drive from his college, the University of Michigan.

Come December, Cecconi, 19, will leave the Wolverines and wear the Team USA crest again in Buffalo, where he will skate in the national junior select camp. Cecconi, who will start his sophomore season soon, earned an invite thanks to a strong showing at the ... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund played with Alexander Nylander is Sweden. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres pick Rasmus Asplund shares chemistry with Alexander Nylander

BUFFALO – Early in the winter at the world junior championship, NHL Draft prospect Rasmus Asplund centered Alexander Nylander, the winger the Sabres drafted eighth overall Friday.

Clearly, the Sabres liked the chemistry the two showcased together representing Sweden, as they drafted Asplund, 18, with the 33rd pick this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

“He was one of the guys I had the best chemistry with in my whole career,” an excited ... Read the full article