The Sabres can negotiate a new contract with Jack Eichel on July 1. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want to pursue contract extension for Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – When Tim Murray spoke to Jack Eichel on Wednesday, the general manager told his young star the Sabres would improve after a last-place finish.

“I made the promise to him that I would do the best that I could to make the team around him better and that we would be a longtime playoff team,” Murray said of his exit meeting with Eichel.

Eichel, 20, hasn’t handled the Sabres’ struggles well. The center ... Read the full article

Dan Bylmsa could have an ultimatum next season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dan Bylsma, players take blame for Sabres’ poor season

BUFFALO – Two seasons removed from a deep rebuild, the Sabres never expected to be a Stanley Cup contender, coach Dan Bylsma said.

Still, they never thought they would rank among the NHL’s bottom-feeders again.

Instead of building off their 27-point improvement in 2015-16, they imploded down the stretch this season, finishing last in the Atlantic Division and missing the playoffs – their big goal – by a whopping 17 points.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wasn't in a talkative mood today. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Coach Dan Bylsma ‘going forward’ with Sabres after disappointing season

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel looked like he would’ve rather been anywhere else. The Sabres center was fidgety throughout his six-minute chat with the media this afternoon, mostly giving short answers.

Eichel, 20, isn’t handling the Sabres’ last-place finish in the Atlantic Division – they also ended 2016-17 an embarrassing 15th in the 16-team Eastern Conference – very well.

“It’s tough,” a seething Eichel said inside KeyBank Center as the Sabres held end-of-season meetings. “You’re not ... Read the full article

The Sabres want to give Alexander Nylander a look. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander debuts against Maple Leafs, brother

BUFFALO – Why now? Why did the Sabres recall top forward prospect Alexander Nylander on Monday of all days, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his brother, slick rookie William Nylander, in town?

On one hand, the night was unforgettable. NHL debuts are always special, but could you imagine doing it against your brother? On the other hand, the pressure on Alexander Nylander, 19, only increased with his high-scoring sibling in town with the scorching ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander was recalled this morning. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Debut against brother will be special for Sabres’ Alexander Nylander

BUFFALO – Why now? Why did the Sabres recall top forward prospect Alexander Nylander today of all days, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his brother, slick rookie William Nylander, in town?

On one hand, the night will be unforgettable. NHL debuts are always special, but could you imagine doing it against your brother? On the other hand, the pressure on Alexander Nylander, 19, will only increase.... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has spent the entire season in the AHL. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres recall prospect Alexander Nylander from Amerks

BUFFALO – Top Sabres forward prospect Alexander Nylander, the eighth overall pick in 2016, could be recalled from the Rochester Americans and make his NHL debut in tonight’s tilt against his brother, William, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Update: Nylander has been recalled.

Nylander, 19, was held out Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 road win against the Albany Devils. The Buffalo News reported the Sabres will summon the Swede from the AHL club.... Read the full article

C.J. Smith, shown here with the USHL's Chicago Steel, will make his NHL debut this afternoon. ©2017, MJB Images, Chicago Steel

Sabres rookie C.J. Smith ready for NHL debut

BUFFALO – Thursday, Sabres newcomer C.J. Smith’s first day in the NHL, was “extremely overwhelming,” the rookie winger said.

“I didn’t get to soak it in as much as I wanted to,” Smith said Saturday inside HarborCenter.

Smith signed his entry-level contract in the morning, practiced with his new teammates shortly after and had to take a test online – the finance major is still enrolled at UMass Lowell, where he spent three seasons – ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen (55) hits Carolina's Jeff Skinner on Dec. 22. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rested Rasmus Ristolainen ready to return to Sabres

BUFFALO – For Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, his three-game suspension meant he received a short break from the rigors of a long season.

“I got a good rest,” Ristolainen said of his absence. “I worked out well, picked up practices and I’m ready to go. It felt like a month.”

Ristolainen’s ban for hitting Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel is over. The workhorse will return for Sunday afternoon’s home tilt against the New York Islanders.

While the ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith just finished a strong junior season. ©2017, UMass Lowell

C.J. Smith sees fit with Sabres, Buffalo

BUFFALO – As a speedy forward fresh off a 23-goal, 51-point junior season, Sabres newcomer C.J. Smith had plenty of suitors earlier this week after he decided to leave UMass Lowell and turn pro.

So why did Smith, 22, ultimately sign a two-year, entry-level contract with the Sabres? The city certainly played a factor.

“It just kind of fits the person I am,” Smith said Thursday following his first NHL practice. “I grew up in ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta scored his 289th NHL goal Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres reward captain Brian Gionta with win over Panthers

BUFFALO – In the days leading to Brian Gionta’s 1,000th NHL game, the Sabres were a little nervous, even “walking on eggshells,” coach Dan Bylsma said.

No one wanted to talk about their captain’s milestone.

“Didn’t want to jinx it, so to speak,” Bylsma said after Gionta fittingly scored the winning goal in Monday’s 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers.

But the Sabres loosened up, and following an emotional pregame ceremony honoring Gionta’s achievement, ... Read the full article