Jerry Forton ran his first NHL Draft as Buffalo’s director of amateur scouting. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Why did Sabres suddenly focus on Russians during NHL Draft?

BUFFALO – You had to go back five years and 34 picks to find the last time the Sabres drafted a Russian.

Before they selected winger Prokhor Poltapov 33rd overall Saturday, they hadn’t drafted a Russian since winger Vasily Glotov in the seventh round in 2016.

Poltapov’s selection was harbinger. The Sabres used three straight picks on Russians and took four overall Saturday.

Later in the second round, the Sabres drafted winger Aleksandr Kisakov with ... Read the full article

Mikhail Grigorenko spent three seasons in the Sabres organization. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Former Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko signs with Blue Jackets

Former Buffalo Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko has landed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Following three seasons in the KHL starring for CSKA Moscow, Grigorenko today signed a one-year contract worth $1.2 million, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

The 25-year-old Russian last played in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche in 2016-17.... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was a sixth-round pick in 2012. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ inability to find steals in NHL Draft contributed to demise

BUFFALO – Nine years ago, the Sabres, whose knack for unearthing mid- and late-round draft gems helped them morph into a Stanley Cup contender earlier in the decade, found another undervalued youngster.

When the Sabres selected Marcus Foligno in the fourth round, 104th overall, he was simply a talented kid with a familiar name.

But the son of former Sabres captain Mike Foligno would quickly develop into one of junior hockey’s top forward prospects.... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov has endured a rough season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Avalanche NHL’s worst

BUFFALO – The ineptitude of some of the worst NHL teams this century – the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers and the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabres, for example – can easily be explained.

Yes, the Thrashers were terrible even by low expansion standards, earning only 39 points. But it was their first year. What can you expect?

The Sabres mustered 52 and 54 points because they fielded weak teams and sold off their best assets to secure ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen has been a strong pick for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded potential high-end talent

BUFFALO – To thrive in the modern NHL, teams must build through the draft. It’s that simple. The days of loading up with veteran players through free agency or trades are long gone. The league belongs to the 20-somethings now, and if teams draft poorly, they’re doomed.

How good are the Sabres at drafting? Judge for yourself below. Since drafts usually don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at their selections ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) celebrates his first-period goal Sunday afternoon. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookie Sam Reinhart continues hot streak

BUFFALO – Many days, long after most of their Sabres teammates have finished practicing, center Ryan O’Reilly and winger Sam Reinhart stay on the ice and work on tip drills.

O’Reilly, an adroit passer, has probably fed Reinhart thousands of pucks this season, helping the rookie quickly morph into a supreme net-front presence.

The chemistry they’ve quickly developed was on display 17:14 into the Sabres’ 4-1 win Sunday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche, when Reinhart ... Read the full article

Ryan O’Reilly was arrested just days after signing the largest contract in Sabres history. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Strong words already haunting Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly

In Ryan O’Reilly’s first comments after the Sabres acquired him, the center discussed his desire to assume a leadership role in Buffalo.

Those words – “With the Sabres I have to be a more vocal guy, be that more off-ice leader and on-ice as well,” he said June 29 – are already haunting the 24-year-old.

Ten days after speaking and just six days after signing a seven-year, $52.5 million contract, O’Reilly was arrested and ... Read the full article

Ryan O’Reilly was arrested Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly charged with impaired driving, leaving scene of accident

Just days after signing a seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension, Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly was arrested Thursday and charged with impaired driving and leaving the scene of an accident after his pickup truck allegedly hit a Tim Hortons in Lucan, Ont.

The incident, which occurred at 4:05 a.m., was announced by the Ontario Provincial Police’s Middlesex County unit Monday night. CFPL-AM first reported the news earlier in the day.

The 24-year-old O’Reilly, who signed ... Read the full article

Ryan O’Reilly’s contract kicks in for 2016-17. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Ryan O’Reilly to 7-year, $52.5 million contract extension

BUFFALO – That didn’t take long. A week after the Sabres acquired Ryan O’Reilly in a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Avalanche, they locked up their new No. 1 center with a max deal Friday, a whopping seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension.

It’s the biggest contract in franchise history, surpassing the seven-year, $50 million deal the Sabres gave winger Thomas Vanek in 2007 when they matched the Edmonton Oilers’ offer sheet.

The contract has a ... Read the full article

Ryan O’Reilly was acquired a week ago. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Ryan O’Reilly to massive contract extension

BUFFALO – That didn’t take long. A week after the Sabres acquired Ryan O’Reilly in a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Avalanche, they locked up their new No. 1 center today with a max deal, a whopping seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension.

That’s an average annual value of $7.5 million.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who tweeted the contract’s value, O’Reilly’s salary will be $1 million per season. The rest will be paid via a ... Read the full article