Brian Gionta is a free agent. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Brian Gionta likely won’t return to Sabres

BUFFALO – The chances of veteran winger Brian Gionta returning to the Sabres for his 16th NHL season “are pretty remote,” his agent said today.

“While we haven’t slammed the door – and I don’t think they have, either – I think they’ve also been pretty honest that it’s probably going to be a fairly unlikely scenario,” Steve Bartlett told the Times Herald. “So I’ve been focusing on trying to look at other opportunities for ... Read the full article

Benoit Pouliot just endured a poor season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

GM Jason Botterill happy with Sabres: ‘It’s been a good week’

BUFFALO – The Sabres could still add more talent after signing two NHL players and six depth additions early in free agency.

Bringing back 38-year-old captain Brian Gionta is still a possibility, general manager Jason Botterill said Saturday after the market opened. And while Botterill said he feels comfortable with the Sabres’ overall toughness, acquiring more muscle could be a priority.

But after inking goalie Chad Johnson and winger Benoit Pouliot on Saturday, a day ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson played for the Sabres in 2015-16. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Chad Johnson, Benoit Pouliot as free agency opens

BUFFALO – The Sabres brought back an old friend shortly after free agency opened today, signing backup goalie Chad Johnson to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.

The 31-year-old spent last season with his hometown Calgary Flames, going 18-15-1 with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 36 games.... Read the full article

Marco Scandella can move the puck. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres add missing defense piece in Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – NHL general managers, the Sabres’ Jason Botterill said, are “very greedy.”

“You always want to have more defense out there,” Botterill said Friday after after acquiring defenseman Marco Scandella and bringing back former captain Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild for wingers Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.... Read the full article

Jason Pominville left the Sabres in 2013. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres acquire Marco Scandella, Jason Pominville from Wild for Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno

BUFFALO – Jason Botterill’s first multi-player trade is a big one, as the Sabres general manager today acquired defenseman Marco Scandella and former team captain Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for wingers Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.

“My little guy already has his jersey on right now, so he’s pumped and we’re excited,” Pominville said this afternoon on a conference call. “I couldn’t be happier for me and my family going somewhere ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson spent last season in Calgary. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres face challenges adding talent in free agency

BUFFALO – For a team fresh off a last-place finish, the Sabres have a high number of contracts, including a few bloated ones, in place for next season.

Counting restricted free agents expected to be back, the Sabres already have about 19 players who could be regulars in 2017-18. Veterans Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges and Matt Moulson combine for more than $14 million of salary cap space.

Bad teams usually don’t approach the cap, but ... Read the full article

Nathan Beaulieu was a healthy scratch in April. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Nathan Beaulieu excited for fresh opportunity with Sabres

BUFFALO – Officially, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu’s six-year tenure in Montreal’s organization ended Saturday. But the Sabres’ newest acquisition knew almost two months ago he would be leaving the Canadiens.

On April 22, the Canadiens’ healthy scratch of Beaulieu for their final first-round playoff game against the New York Rangers signaled the end.

“That was kind of the cherry on top the situation was over with,” Beaulieu said this afternoon on a conference call. “I ... Read the full article

William Carrier was one of the Sabres' biggest surprises last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres leave big salaries unprotected for expansion draft

BUFFALO – As expected, the Sabres have left underachieving, high-priced veterans Zach Bogosian and Matt Moulson unprotected for Wednesday’s NHL Expansion Draft.

But they also left winger William Carrier, perhaps the Sabres’ biggest surprise as a rookie last season, unprotected for the Vegas Golden Knights, according to a list the league released this morning. Could that move be a side deal general manager Jason Botterill worked out with counterpart George McPhee to lay off ... Read the full article

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