Carter Hutton could see a lot of action next season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres present special opportunity to goalie Carter Hutton

BUFFALO – A simple factor contributed to Carter Hutton quietly morphing into one of the NHL’s best goalies last season. Instead of relegating the veteran to backup duty again, the St. Louis Blues rewarded his splendid play, giving him extra action.

In his first five full NHL seasons, Hutton had always been labeled the No. 2 goalie. After averaging only 21 appearances over the previous three years, he played 32 games in 2017-18, stealing playing ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton has never played more than 40 games in an NHL season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Follow along for free agency updates: Sabres sign goalie Carter Hutton:

As expected, the Buffalo Sabres signed goalie Carter Hutton to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $2.75 million shortly after free agency opened today.

The Sabres had to pursue a proven veteran after moving on from former starter Robin Lehner last week, as management seems uncomfortable with prospect Linus Ullmark carrying the load.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner reacts to allowing a goal last season with Toronto's Patrick Marleau in front of him. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres could move on from goalie Robin Lehner soon

DALLAS – In the coming days, the Buffalo Sabres could confirm what has been widely speculated for months: goalie Robin Lehner won’t be back for a fourth season.

If the Sabres can’t trade Lehner, rather than making a $4 million qualifying offer to the restricted free agent by Monday’s deadline, they might simply walk away, making him unrestricted.... Read the full article

Despite a hot stretch during the winter, Chad Johnson ended this season with some weak statistics. ©2018, Hickling Images

Goalie Chad Johnson’s second stint with Sabres went poorly

BUFFALO – If Chad Johnson had known the Sabres would struggle so much this season, the goalie likely would’ve looked for work elsewhere.

“I wouldn’t have put my career in a situation like that after having a lot of success and doing well,” Johnson said Monday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held exit interviews inside KeyBank Center.

Thanks to two strong seasons, Johnson, 31, enjoyed some options during free agency last summer. ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons has experienced plenty of losing with the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Last-place Sabres never got on track during lost season

BUFFALO – Way back on opening night, Oct. 5, the Sabres caused KeyBank Center to buzz with excitement for one of the few times in recent memory.

The Sabres’ new regime of coach Phil Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman and Buffalo legend, and general manager Jason Botterill, who helped construct three Stanley Cup winners in Pittsburgh, had energized the fan base and offered hope.

Perhaps the Sabres wouldn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18, but ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner played 53 games this season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Goalie Robin Lehner won’t make Sabres’ final road trip

BUFFALO – Injured goalie Robin Lehner won’t accompany the Sabres on their season-ending two-game trip to Florida, according to the team.

Lehner has an expiring contract and was acquired by the team’s old regime, meaning his Sabres career could be over. A lower-body injury has sidelined him the last three contests.

In 53 games this season, Lehner went 14-26-9 with a 3.01 goal-against average and a .908 save percentage.... Read the full article

Jason Pominville expected a better season for the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres lose to Senators in home finale, clinch 31st place

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville looked stunned. Mercifully, the Sabres closed out their home schedule Wednesday, and the finality of the most disappointing season in franchise history hit the veteran winger hard.

“I don’t think anyone really coming in envisioned this,” Pominville said after a 4-2 loss to the hapless Ottawa Senators secured the Sabres 31st place. “Certainly not myself, being on the outside coming in and hoping we’d be headed in the right direction.

“And ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has turned around his season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Physicality helped Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander earn recall

BUFFALO – Four or five months ago, it appeared slick Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander’s second pro season would be a dud.

In rookie camp, Nylander suffered a lower-body injury, costing him more than two months. The former eighth overall pick struggled following his season debut in mid-November, mustering only one goal and four points in his first 12 AHL outings.

But Nylander, 20, started turning a miserable campaign around early in the winter. The winger ... Read the full article

Auston Matthews scored two goals and added a nifty assist Monday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres can’t match Maple Leafs’ skill

TORONTO – The NHL’s worst team can certainly tease you. Before Monday’s 5-2 loss, in the last week, the Buffalo Sabres had beaten the Nashville Predators and the Maple Leafs, two heavyweights.

A week ago, the Sabres defeated the 48-win Maple Leafs here 3-2, ending their 13-game home winning streak. On Saturday, the Sabres triumphed 7-4 in Nashville, kicking around the league’s best team.

But the Sabres have demonstrated little consistency this trying season. Dreadful ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) battles Montreal's Nick Deslauriers on March 23. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Sam Reinhart never doubted talents in tough times

TORONTO – In the toughest days of his season, as Sam Reinhart endured goal droughts of 10 and 15 games, the Buffalo Sabres winger said he never changed a thing.

Reinhart, 22, kept preparing the same way each day. Thirty-eight games into his third NHL season, he had mustered only five goals and 11 points.

But Reinhart trusted his approach would pay dividends.... Read the full article