BUFFALO – Following another underwhelming season, it felt like only a matter of time before the Sabres cut their losses and traded winger Alexander Nylander.
Through three years as a pro, Nylander, the eighth overall pick by the Sabres’ old regime in 2016, has mostly been a bust.
Sure, the Swede has occasionally showcased his slick skills. Still, he hasn’t consistently displayed the tenacity to match them.
Nylander, 21, couldn’t develop into a dominant ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Center Sean Malone’s 2018-19 season started ominously. After some impressive performances early in his second NHL training camp, the West Seneca native injured his knee in the Sabres’ preseason opener.
So instead of competing for a spot on the big club, Malone, 24, didn’t play his first game until Nov. 7 with the Rochester Americans.
Injuries limited Malone to only 38 appearances during a frustrating campaign. The Harvard product never seemed to ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – For 11 years, Craig Johnson coached his son, Ryan, staying with the youngster from his first strides on the ice through high school.
So when Ryan, the 31st overall pick by the Sabres on Friday, left California for the junior Sioux Falls Stampede last year, it marked the first time he had been away from his father, who played 557 games as an NHL forward.
“It wasn’t hard to let him go,” Craig ... Read the full article
VANCOUVER – Among the highlights of new Buffalo Sabres prospect Aaron Huglen on YouTube is a clip of what general manager Jason Botterill called “the Mike Legg goal.”
Last year at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, an under-18 tournament, Huglen pulled off one of hockey’s toughest moves, scoring a goal by quickly lifting the puck and wrapping it into the net.
Legg, Botterill’s teammate at Michigan, made the lacrosse-style goal famous in 1996.
“There’s a wow factor ... Read the full article
VANCOUVER – The Buffalo Sabres were expected to take a goalie this year, and sure enough, they selected Erik Portillo 67th overall today in the third round at the NHL Draft.
Portillo spent last season at home in Sweden with Frölunda’s under-20 junior team, compiling a 1.90 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.
The 6-foot-6, 209-pound Portillo could play in North America next season. The junior United States Hockey League’s Dubuque Fighting Saints own ... Read the full article
VANCOUVER – Growing up in Whitehorse, Yukon, a city of about 25,000 in the northwestern Canadian territory, new Buffalo Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens said making the NHL seemed impossible.
“It always felt like a far-fetched dream and not really achievable, but I believed it and I believed in myself that I can make this happen one day,” an excited Cozens, 18, said shortly after the Sabres selected him seventh overall Friday at the NHL Draft. ... Read the full article
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
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
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
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