Ryan O'Reilly spent three seasons in Buffalo. ©2018, Hickling Images

Former Sabre Ryan O’Reilly producing for Blues amid losing season

Not much has changed for ex-Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly in St. Louis. The Blues utilize him constantly, relying on him to play big minutes. Just like in Buffalo, the versatile center quickly seized his opportunities, morphing into perhaps his new team’s best player.

And just like in Buffalo, O’Reilly has endured a lot of losing.

The Blues, one of the NHL’s heavyweights for years, just missed the playoffs last season, earning 94 points. When they ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson joined Anaheim earlier this month. ©2018, Hickling Images

Former Sabres goalie Chad Johnson happy with Ducks

BUFFALO – When former Sabres goalie Chad Johnson entered free agency and began studying teams he could potentially join, he zeroed in on the St. Louis Blues.

Johnson, 32, examined the Blues on paper, talked to people familiar with them and did enough homework to feel comfortable signing a one-year, $1.75 million contract July 1.

“I thought it was going to be a good fit,” Johnson, who endured a rough season with the Sabres in ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark made 40 saves on Saturday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Linus Ullmark blanks Ducks, Sabres head into break on high note

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark could’ve been forgiven if it took him a little time to acclimate to his new role as a backup, perhaps the NHL’s toughest job.

No. 2 netminders often go a week or more without playing. When they finally start, they often receive the second of back-to-back games.

But Ullmark, 25, has transitioned nicely into his new gig, winning eight of his first 13 appearances subbing for No. 1 goalie ... Read the full article

Matt Hunwick has missed 31 games this season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Matt Hunwick to begin injury rehab assignment with Amerks

BUFFALO – On April 1, defenseman Matt Hunwick made his 521st NHL appearance, skating just over 12 minutes in Pittsburgh’s 3-1 loss in Washington.

More than eight months later, Hunwick, 33, hasn’t played another game. That should, however, change tonight for the Sabres newcomer, who has missed the first 31 contests this season recovering from a neck injury.

The Sabres plan to have Hunwick start an AHL rehab assignment with the Rochester Americans, Sabres coach ... Read the full article

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