Henri Jokiharju has played two seasons in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres re-sign Casey Mittelstadt, Henri Jokiharju to identical contracts

The Buffalo Sabres on Thursday locked up two of their three restricted free agents, re-signing center Casey Mittelstadt and defenseman Henri Jokiharju to identical three-year, $7.5 million contracts.

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is now the Sabres’ only restricted free agent. Training camp is scheduled to begin later this month.

The Mittelstadt and Jokiharju deals, which carry $2.5 million salary cap hits, could look like bargains in the near future.

... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt started unlocking his potential late last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres reward breakout stretch, re-sign Casey Mittelstadt to three-year contract

Early last season, Casey Mittelstadt toiled on the taxi squad and struggled to crack the Buffalo Sabres’ lineup as a winger. By the end of the year, however, he had morphed into the team’s No. 2 center.

The Sabres on Thursday rewarded Mittelstadt’s breakout stretch under new coach Don Granato, re-signing him to a three-year, $7.5 million contract.

Mittelstadt, 22, is the first key restricted free agent the Sabres have re-signed. Defensemen Rasmus ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk, shown here with Rochester, began his NHL career in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Mark Pysyk excited for chance to play defense, optimistic about Sabres’ future

Mark Pysyk said the move shocked him. He had played defense his entire career, and the Florida Panthers suddenly wanted to utilize him as a forward.

But Pysyk had become a spare part in the 2019-20 season under new coach Joel Quenneville. Shifting to wing beat the alternative of remaining a healthy scratch.

So Pysyk embraced the change, often skating on the fourth line while moving back to defense as a penalty killer.

“It was ... Read the full article

Will Butcher has represented Team USA. ©2021, Dan Hickling

In Will Butcher, Sabres add intriguing talent to blue line for nothing

BUFFALO – As NHL general managers scramble to make offseason moves and fit fat contracts under the $81.5 million flat salary cap, they’ve been gifting talented, high-priced players and draft picks to teams willing to accept big money.

Prior to free agency, the Chicago Blackhawks acquired a combined $12 million cap hit in goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forward Tyler Johnson.

For the 2020-21 Vezina Trophy winner and a regular on the past two Stanley Cup ... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund enjoyed regular duty late last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres re-sign Rasmus Asplund, ink Ryan MacInnis

The Buffalo Sabres have rewarded Rasmus Asplund’s breakout stretch late last season, re-signing the restricted free agent to a two-year, $1.65 million contract, the team announced Friday.

Asplund, 23, had a career-best run after coach Don Granato took over as coach, scoring six of his seven goals and 10 of his 11 points in 23 games. He tied for fifth in goal scoring on the Sabres with winger Jeff Skinner, who played 25 more contests.... Read the full article

Matt Ellis will move behind the bench permanently. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres change up coaching staff, retain Matt Ellis, add two new faces

Don Granato has overhauled the Buffalo Sabres’ coaching staff, retaining Matt Ellis and hiring Jason Christie and Marty Wilford as assistants, the team announced Thursday.

In addition, Justin White has been named video coordinator. Assistant coach Mike Bales, who’s charge of the goalies, and video coach Myles Fee will remain with the Sabres this season, according to the team. Both were hired by ex-coach Ralph Krueger.

Dan Girardi, an interim assistant coach last season, ... Read the full article

John Hayden began his career in Chicago. ©2021, TNS

Sabres add forward depth, sign John Hayden to one-year contract

The Sabres added more depth to their bottom-six forward group today, signing John Hayden to a one-year, $750,000 contract.

Hayden, 26, is the ninth player the Sabres have inked since free agency opened Wednesday.

The 6-foot-3, 223-pound Hayden spent last season with the Arizona Coyotes, recording two goals and five points in 29 games.... Read the full article

Vinnie Hinostroza scored a career-high 16 goals with Arizona in 2018-19. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

NHL free agency tracker: Sabres sign Vinnie Hinostroza to one-year contract

Three and a half hours after free agency opened today, the Buffalo Sabres made their first move, signing forward Vinnie Hinostroza to a one-year, $1.05 million contract.

Hinostroza, 27, knows Sabres coach Don Granato from their days together with the Chicago Blackhawks. The American offers the Sabres depth and versatility to play up and down the lineup.

The 5-foot-10, 177-pound Hinostroza has compiled 38 goals and 112 points in 272 career NHL games.... Read the full article

Buffalo claimed Drake Caggiula on April 9. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres re-sign Drake Caggiula to one-year contract

The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed winger Drake Caggiula, who enjoyed regular duty on the fourth line late last season, to a one-year, $750,000 contract, the team announced tonight.

Caggiula, 27, could’ve become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday. He recorded two goals and three points in 11 games after the Sabres claimed him off waivers April 9.

The 5-foot-10, 176-pound Caggiula gives the Sabres much-needed depth and versatility. He’s a natural center.... Read the full article

The Sabres are expected to be busy this summer. ©2021, Buffalo Sabres

Sabres name Sam Ventura VP of hockey strategy and research

The Buffalo Sabres have made a significant analytics hire, naming Sam Ventura vice president of hockey strategy and research, the team announced Monday.

Ventura, 33, spent the last six seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ front office, winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. In Pittsburgh, he worked under Jason Karmanos, who was hired as the Sabres’ associate general manager April 13.

Jason Nightingale, who recently served as the director of analytics and assistant ... Read the full article