Benoit Pouliot just endured a poor season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

GM Jason Botterill happy with Sabres: ‘It’s been a good week’

BUFFALO – The Sabres could still add more talent after signing two NHL players and six depth additions early in free agency.

Bringing back 38-year-old captain Brian Gionta is still a possibility, general manager Jason Botterill said Saturday after the market opened. And while Botterill said he feels comfortable with the Sabres’ overall toughness, acquiring more muscle could be a priority.

But after inking goalie Chad Johnson and winger Benoit Pouliot on Saturday, a day ... Read the full article

Cal Petersen can pick his own team soon. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Goalie prospect Cal Petersen to pass on Sabres

CHICAGO – Forget about former Notre Dame goalie Cal Petersen joining the Buffalo Sabres. The 22-year-old prospect, who left school last month, will elect for free agency, general manager Jason Botterill said Friday morning.

“I don’t believe he’ll be signing with the Buffalo Sabres,” Botterill said hours before the first round of the NHL Draft.... Read the full article

Phil Housley is assembling a staff. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Andrew Allen still with Sabres; Phil Housley assembling staff

CHICAGO – For now, goalie coach Andrew Allen is still with the Buffalo Sabres. General manager Jason Botterill wants to keep the lone holdover from former coach Dan Bylsma’s staff. That decision, however, will be left up to new coach Phil Housley.

“It’s a situation where we’re very excited about Andrew,” Botterill said this morning prior to the NHL Draft. “My plan has always been to work with Andrew. It’s a scenario where Phil and ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill has only been on the job since last month. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill front and center at NHL Draft

CHICAGO – We don’t have a book on Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill yet. We don’t know his tendencies, what kind of team he truly wants to build or which players he values over others.

Botterill, widely regarded as one of the NHL’s brightest young minds, has been on the job 43 days. So far, the 41-year-old has made only minor deals, acquiring defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and reaching an agreement with the expansion ... Read the full article

William Carrier was one of the Sabres' biggest surprises last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres leave big salaries unprotected for expansion draft

BUFFALO – As expected, the Sabres have left underachieving, high-priced veterans Zach Bogosian and Matt Moulson unprotected for Wednesday’s NHL Expansion Draft.

But they also left winger William Carrier, perhaps the Sabres’ biggest surprise as a rookie last season, unprotected for the Vegas Golden Knights, according to a list the league released this morning. Could that move be a side deal general manager Jason Botterill worked out with counterpart George McPhee to lay off ... Read the full article

Craig Button believes the Sabres have plenty of assets. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Analyst: Sabres’ next GM entering ‘promising’ gig

BUFFALO – Despite inheriting a last-place club, the Sabres’ next general manager will also be entering a “promising” job, said former NHL GM Craig Button.

Why? The Sabres already possess two cornerstones at critical positions.

“When you start with (center) Jack Eichel and you’ve got a (defenseman like) Rasmus Ristolainen, you’ve got the framework for something to really move significantly ahead with,” said Button, the Calgary Flames’ GM for three years in the early ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma lasted two seasons as coach. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres start over again by firing GM Tim Murray, coach Dan Bylsma

BUFFALO – Now what? In a stunning move, general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma are gone, victims of the Sabres’ last-place finish.

Tanking, gutting the roster and starting from scratch were supposed to transform the Sabres into perennial contenders.

Instead, they’ve remained a laughingstock. So on Thursday, 11 days after the Sabres completed a disappointing 78-point season in which they regressed, owner Terry Pegula fired Murray and Bylsma.

Obviously, missing the playoffs by ... Read the full article

Tim Murray was hired in January 2014. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres must find direction after firing GM Tim Murray, coach Dan Bylsma

BUFFALO – Now what? In a stunning move, general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma are gone, victims of the Sabres’ last-place finish.

Tanking, gutting the roster and starting from scratch were supposed to transform the Sabres into perennial contenders.

Instead, they’ve remained a laughingstock. So on Thursday, 11 days after the Sabres completed a disappointing 78-point season in which they regressed, owner Terry Pegula fired Murray and Bylsma.

Obviously, missing the playoffs by ... Read the full article

Evander Kane scored a team-high 28 goals this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Strong season gives Sabres’ Evander Kane value

BUFFALO – Barely a year ago, as rumors swirled the Sabres wanted to trade Evander Kane, the same question kept popping up: did the enigmatic winger possess any real value?

Kane, 25, wasn’t just coming off a disappointing 20-goal season in 2015-16. Off the ice, he partied in Toronto and missed practice, earning a one-game benching. Then in June, with the team hosting the NHL Draft, Kane was arrested.

Combine his limited production and ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson played 36 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Johan Larsson’s absence hurt Sabres

BUFFALO – When center Johan Larsson suffered two season-ending dislocations New Year’s Eve, the Sabres quietly experienced a critical blow to their playoff hopes.

While the absences of some higher-profile forwards – Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo, for example – garnered more attention, the Sabres struggled to replace Larsson’s tenacious two-way game.

Without Larsson, who dislocated his elbow and wrist, the Sabres became a “different team,” said Marcus Foligno, the Swede’s regular winger on ... Read the full article