Matt Irwin played a career-low 36 games last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Matt Irwin ready for opportunity on blue line

BUFFALO – Over the last few years, Sabres newcomer Matt Irwin has morphed from a regular into his team’s seventh defenseman.

After playing a career-high 70 times in 2016-17, Irwin cracked the 50-game mark just once in the next three years. Last season, which he spent with the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks, he played a career-low 36 contests.

But Irwin, 33, has learned to embrace the role of an extra defender and the challenges ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton missed two games after getting hit in the head. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Carter Hutton practices, says ‘stubbornness’ made him stay in game

BUFFALO – When Ivan Provorov hit Carter Hutton in the head Jan. 19 in Philadelphia, the Sabres goalie said he felt the effects of it right away.

Still, Hutton stayed in the game. Stubbornness, he said, took over.

“I’m competitive and I want to play,” Hutton said on a Zoom call this morning. “I kept communicating with (head athletic trainer Rich Stinziano), but I definitely didn’t put him in an easy spot, too, because I ... Read the full article

Eric Staal has showcased durability throughout his long career. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Eric Staal plays after taking elbow to jaw

BUFFALO – When Nic Dowd elbowed Eric Staal in the jaw late in Thursday’s 6-4 season-opening loss, it looked like the Sabres center could be sidelined for a while.

The Washington Capitals center knocked the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Staal to the ice and out of the game.

But Staal, who has remained remarkably durable over his 17-year NHL career, played in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Capitals at KeyBank Center, pivoting the second line.

On Friday ... Read the full article

Colin Miller was often the odd man out last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Colin Miller rebounds to earn spot among top-six defensemen

BUFFALO – Last year, his first with the Sabres, defenseman Colin Miller sat out 18 times – more than one-quarter of the season – as a healthy scratch.

The Sabres, who possessed a surfeit of defensemen, often dressed an extra one. Still, Miller regularly ranked eighth on the depth chart and was the odd man out.

This year, however, Miller, 28, has quickly earned a spot among the top-six defensemen. He skated beside Henri Jokiharju... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens could make his NHL debut later this week. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ roster almost set; Dylan Cozens, Jack Quinn to remain in Buffalo

BUFFALO – The 27 players who participated in Tuesday’s practice will start the season on the Sabres’ roster or taxi squad, coach Ralph Krueger said.

That means 19-year-old forward prospects Dylan Cozens and Jack Quinn, Buffalo’s last two first-round picks, will remain in the NHL for now.

Of course, the Sabres must sort some things out before Thursday’s opener against the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center.

Krueger said center Curtis Lazar (lower-body injury) and ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen got off to a torrid start in Finland this season. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres release training camp roster, schedule; 37 players to participate

On Friday, the Buffalo Sabres will touch the KeyBank Center ice for the first time in 296 days and begin preparing for the most unusual of seasons.

The NHL will be attempting to play during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will likely experience problems – positive tests, postponements or even cancellations – as the schedule unfolds.

But those potential roadblocks can be examined another day. The Sabres’ 10-month break is nearly over. Training camp officially ... Read the full article

Matt Irwin spent 2015-16 as Colby Cave’s teammate in Providence. ©2020, Alan Sullivan, Providence Bruins

Friendship with Colby Cave helped Sabres’ Matt Irwin handle demotion

It was the summer of 2015, and after spending three seasons with the San Jose Sharks, defenseman Matt Irwin felt a strong desire to return to the East Coast.

Having attended UMass for two years and developed three seasons with San Jose’s AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks, Irwin felt comfortable in Massachusetts. When an opportunity materialized to the join the Boston Bruins as a free agent, he pounced on it, signing a one-year contract.

Irwin ... Read the full article

Cody Eakin played eight regular-season games with Winnipeg, including one Feb. 23 in Buffalo. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Cody Eakin excited about Sabres, new city: ‘Cold the way I like it’

Cody Eakin knew very little about Buffalo before he signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Sabres as a free agent earlier this month.

Eakin played eight of his first nine NHL seasons in the Western Conference, meaning he usually visited Buffalo just once a year. Still, Eakin, who spent some time in Buffalo as a member of Team Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championship, has a basic understanding of his new city.... Read the full article

Jacob Markstrom received a six-year contract from Calgary. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres sign three depth players during odd day of free agency

The COVID-19 pandemic promised to make this offseason unusual.

NHL teams have generated little or no revenue over the past seven months. The league has frozen the salary cap at $81.5 million for 2020-21, a season it would like to start in January. That, of course, could be difficult.

The uncertainty surrounding the season created an odd opening day of free agency Friday. Many teams are operating on internal budgets far below the cap.

Instead ... Read the full article

Matt Irwin defends Buffalo’s Drew Stafford while a member of San Jose in 2014. ©2020, Dan Hickling, Hickling Images

Sabres sign Matt Irwin to one-year contract; Brandon Davidson inks deal

The Buffalo Sabres added some depth late this afternoon, signing left-shot defenseman Matt Irwin to a one-year, $700,000 contract, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Update: The Sabres have officially announced the deal.

Irwin, 32, helps balance the blue line a bit. The Sabres now have three left-handed defensemen and four righties.

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Irwin compiled zero goals, three assists and a minus-15 rating in 36 total games last season with the Nashville Predators and ... Read the full article