Marcus Johansson has impressed coach Ralph Krueger. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Marcus Johansson honored by earning letter

PITTSBURGH – Marcus Johansson rarely displays much emotion. In good times and bad, the Buffalo Sabres center usually keeps an even keel.

Still, Ralph Krueger could tell being named one of the Sabres’ two alternate captains earlier this week had special meaning to Johansson.

“His Swedish persona (was) able to kind of tuck it away in the talk with me, but I thought he was extremely honored,” Krueger said prior to Thursday’s 3-1, season-opening win ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton played a career-high 50 games last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton to start opener; Evan Rodrigues to sit

PITTSBURGH – In almost equal preseason action, Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark outplayed Carter Hutton, posting a goals-against average 64 points lower and a save percentage 49 points higher than his partner.

But Hutton, 33, handled the load last season, playing a career-high 50 games.

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger, who said everything was up for competition during training camp, probably wants to show Hutton respect on opening night against the Penguins.

The veteran will ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger hasn't coached an NHL game since 2013. ©2019, Hickling Images

Communication skills help Ralph Krueger win over Sabres early

PITTSBURGH – Kyle Okposo figures they spent 10 minutes talking about hockey. For most of the evening, the three Buffalo Sabres veterans dining with their new coach, Ralph Krueger, discussed their backgrounds and families.

The sport that consumes so much of their lives didn’t come up much.

“We barely talked about hockey,” Okposo said of the get-together.

When the Sabres hired Krueger on May 15, he hadn’t coached in the NHL in six years. ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt scored 12 goals as a rookie. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres’ Casey Mittelstadt believes he can thrive in Ralph Krueger’s system

BUFFALO – For seven months last season, Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt lived the hectic NHL life. The rookie practiced almost daily, played 77 games and logged thousands of air miles traveling across North America.

Mittelstadt, 20, had never experienced anything like it.

Then in the second week of April, everything stopped. When the season ended, Mittelstadt quickly became bored.

“You go from 100 mph to literally zero,” Mittelstadt said prior to Wednesday’s 4-3 preseason overtime ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has battled shoulder problems in the past. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jake McCabe to miss rest of preseason

BUFFALO – An upper-body injury will sideline Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe the rest of the preseason, the team announced this morning.

“It was in practice yesterday, just light upper body,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said inside KeyBank Center. “We’re expecting him to be good to go for the first league game.”

McCabe, 25, has battled shoulder problems in the past.

In addition to McCabe, four other Sabres defensemen – Zach Bogosian (hip), Matt Hunwick (neck), ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens has shown some rapid growth during training camp. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Prospect Dylan Cozens earns another look from Sabres

BUFFALO – Before Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens’ impressive effort in Friday’s preseason loss, the coaching staff marked him down as a possibility to play again in tonight’s rematch against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“There was a good chance he was going to play, but he confirmed it yesterday with what he showed us, and we need one more look here,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said this morning inside KeyBank Center.

Cozens, 18, was one ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens could be assigned to junior soon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens ready for NHL preseason debut

BUFFALO – Coach Ralph Krueger wants center Dylan Cozens to relax during tonight’s preseason opener. Throughout the recent Prospects Challenge rookie tournament, the Sabres’ top pick often tried to do to much.

“He was trying to be a different-maker every time on the ice,” Krueger said after the Sabres prepared for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The seventh overall pick knows he must calm down a little.

“I can’t be out there trying to dangle everyone and ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark finished poorly last season after a fast start. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark upbeat following tough season

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark figured he was better equipped to handle the grind of a seven-month, 82-game NHL season.

Ullmark, after all, thrived while carrying the load in his final two AHL seasons, playing 99 games before graduating to the NHL.

“But it’s a totally different thing, totally different beast to tame when you get up here in ‘The Show,’” Ullmark said Friday following the opening sessions of training camp inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark played 37 games last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Report: Sabres, Linus Ullmark nearly $2 million apart before arbitration hearing

The Buffalo Sabres and goalie Linus Ullmark are nearly $2 million apart heading into Friday’s arbitration hearing, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The Sabres offered Ullmark $800,000, while the Swede countered with $2.65 million, Friedman tweeted this morning.

For some perspective, Sabres starting goalie Carter Hutton has a $2.75 million salary.

Ullmark, who turns 26 today, earned $800,000 in 2018-19, his first full NHL campaign.... Read the full article

Scott Wedgewood quietly enjoyed a terrific season in Rochester. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Former Sabres, Amerks have landed new contracts all over

On a Rochester Americans team loaded with scorers and high-end AHL talent, goalie Scott Wedgewood’s exploits often got overshadowed.

But for much of the 2018-19 campaign, Wedgewood was the Amerks’ backbone, tending some of the league’s best goal.

After Christmas, Wedgewood won 16 of his first 21 appearances. Overall, he enjoyed a career season, compiling 28 victories and five shutouts in 48 games.

Still, it was evident Wedgewood, 26, would be moving on. The seven-year ... Read the full article