Taylor Fedun played 27 NHL games last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Taylor Fedun to two-year contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres added defense depth today, re-signing Taylor Fedun to a two-year, two-way contract.

The 29-year-old could’ve become an unrestricted free agent Saturday.

Fedun split last season between the NHL and AHL, compiling career-high seven assists and seven points in 27 games, all career highs.

The Princeton product also had five goals and 23 points in 29 appearances with the Rochester Americans.

Fedun looked comfortable when the Sabres recalled him in November, showcasing ... 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

Johan Larsson played 36 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Johan Larsson’s absence hurt Sabres

BUFFALO – When center Johan Larsson suffered two season-ending dislocations New Year’s Eve, the Sabres quietly experienced a critical blow to their playoff hopes.

While the absences of some higher-profile forwards – Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo, for example – garnered more attention, the Sabres struggled to replace Larsson’s tenacious two-way game.

Without Larsson, who dislocated his elbow and wrist, the Sabres became a “different team,” said Marcus Foligno, the Swede’s regular winger on ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel was the Sabres' leading scorer this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Disappointing season leaves Sabres’ Jack Eichel seething

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel looked like he would’ve rather been anywhere else. The Sabres center was restless throughout his six-minute chat with the media Monday, mostly giving terse statements and looking around as he stood at a podium.

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 ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played his final NCAA game last week. ©2017, UMass Lowell

Rookie C.J. Smith contributes in Sabres’ loss to Islanders

BUFFALO – The play will be seared in Sabres rookie C.J. Smith’s memory the rest of his life.

Halfway through Smith’s NHL debut, Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders, the speedy winger grabbed Evander Kane’s pass just outside the blue line and zoomed into the zone on a two-on-one.

Smith then dished a backhand saucer pass to Kane, who beat goalie Jaroslav Halak for his team-leading 27th goal. Just 10:08 into his ... 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

William Carrier practiced with his teammates again Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ William Carrier, Kyle Okposo healed, ready to contribute

BUFFALO – William Carrier couldn’t resist. So before answering a question Thursday, the excited Sabres rookie greeted a crowd of reporters with a short opening statement.

“I’m back, everyone,” a smiling Carrier said inside HarborCenter.

Carrier, sidelined 24 games by a bone bruise in his knee, wasn’t the only injured player back Thursday. Sabres winger Kyle Okposo and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov also returned to practice.

All three are on track to play Saturday at home ... Read the full article

Jake Guentzel was bloodied and concussed Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen to have hearing with NHL Player Safety for hit

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen will have a hearing with NHL Player Safety on Thursday afternoon for knocking Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel out of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss with a concussion.

Ristolainen, who has never been suspended, could receive a short ban for the hit.

The Finn was given a five-minute major penalty for interference and ejected 8:46 into the contest when he leveled Guentzel as the rookie waited for a pass that was intercepted just ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner makes a save Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Rasmus Ristolainen ejected in Sabres’ loss to Penguins

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had a split-second decision to make as Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby dished the puck up to Jake Guentzel near their blue line early in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Penguins.

Ristolainen could lay back and play it safe, or he could assume the short pass would be completed and step up and throttle Guentzel.

The Finn went for the hit, but the pass was intercepted by teammate Zemgus Girgensons. ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen scored his first shootout goal on his first attempt Friday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres workhorse Rasmus Ristolainen willing to carry load

BUFFALO – Back in August, a crew in Rasmus Ristolainen’s native Finland filmed the Sabres defenseman utilizing some slick shootout moves – in the video, he dekes right before deftly backhanding the puck in with just his left hand – during a practice session.

At the end of the clip posted on Youtube.com, Ristolainen says in Finnish he would showcase the same moves if he received an opportunity in an NHL shootout.

This season, the ... Read the full article