Rasmus Ristolainen has been a strong pick for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded potential high-end talent

BUFFALO – To thrive in the modern NHL, teams must build through the draft. It’s that simple. The days of loading up with veteran players through free agency or trades are long gone. The league belongs to the 20-somethings now, and if teams draft poorly, they’re doomed.

How good are the Sabres at drafting? Judge for yourself below. Since drafts usually don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at their selections ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson scored six goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Awful season costs Cody Hodgson job with Sabres

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s Sabres career is over.

The team put the struggling winger on unconditional waivers Monday, meaning the final four seasons of his six-year, $25.5 million contract will be bought out for one-third the remaining value since he’s under 26 years old.

The Sabres owe him $6.333 million over the next eight years, money that will count against the salary cap until 2022-23, according to generalfanager.com. They must absorb a $1,041,666 hit ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons could have a long career with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded mixed results

SUNRISE, Fla. – How good have the Buffalo Sabres drafted in recent years? Judge for yourself below.

Since most drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Sabres’ selections from 2007-12 and some notable hits and misses. Sixteen of Buffalo’s 45 draft choices over that time – 36 percent – have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks at this weekend’s NHL Draft, including the No. 2 selection, ... Read the full article

Joel Armia hasn't played in a regular-season NHL game yet. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded some strong talents and notable misses

Since most NHL Entry Drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round picks from 2006-11 and some notable hits and misses. Fourteen of Buffalo’s 43 draft choices over that time have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks this weekend in Philadelphia, including the No. 2 selection.

2011

First-round pick: center Joel Armia, 16th overall

Armia endured a rough season in 2013-14, his ... Read the full article

Zack Kassian spent time with Rochester in 2011-12. ©2013, Michelene Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Former Sabres prospect Zack Kassian still trying to establish himself with Canucks

BUFFALO – Twenty months later, there’s no decisive winner in the Cody Hodgson-Zack Kassian deal, the shocker the Sabres and Vancouver Canucks pulled off before the 2012 NHL trade deadline.

Teams rarely swap high first-round picks during their rookie seasons. So the debate might go on for years in the two hockey-mad cities.

“That’s hockey,” Kassian, who will play his first game back in Buffalo tonight at the First Niagara Center, told the Vancouver ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson is the team's top center. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Maturity and talent earned Sabres’ Cody Hodgson long-term contract

BUFFALO – In awarding Cody Hodgson, a youngster with only 77 points in 139 career NHL games, a six-year, $25.5 million contract, the Sabres are betting on more than the center’s abundant talent. The team’s banking that Hodgson will keep dedicating himself to becoming an elite player.

“He wants to be a No. 1 guy from the standpoint he wants to be counted on, and he wants to be recognized in a leadership position,” ... Read the full article

The Sabres grabbed Mark Pysyk 23rd overall in 2010. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres have draft hits and misses in recent years

NEWARK, N.J. – Since most NHL Entry Drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Buffalo Sabres’ first-round picks from 2005-10 and some notable hits and misses.

2010

First-round pick: defenseman Mark Pysyk, 23rd overall

After some early struggles in Rochester last season, Pysyk began developing rapidly during his rookie campaign, earning a March recall and a regular spot down the stretch. The smooth 21-year-old could someday be ... Read the full article

The Sabres acquired Cody Hodgson at last season's trade deadline. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent trade-deadline activity has yielded mixed results

PITTSBURGH – With the NHL trade deadline hitting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, here’s the Buffalo Sabres’ Eastern Conference standing and their activity since 2006:

2006, third place, 83 points

General manager Darcy Regier made no additions, only trading No. 3 goalie Mika Noronen to Vancouver for a second-round pick (current backup goalie Jhonas Enroth). Some argued the inactivity bit the surprising Sabres, who lost four defensemen to injury during their run to the Eastern Conference ... Read the full article

The Sabres selected Tyler Myers 12th overall in 2008, the last time they had two first-round picks. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Keeping high picks might be Sabres’ best draft choice

PITTSBURGH – A year and zero playoff games later, Darcy Regier still has the keys, full reign to aggressively pursue elite talent and make the Buffalo Sabres a contender again.

If you believe the general manager, then he’s in the mix and will be active on the Consol Energy Center floor this weekend during the NHL Entry Draft, which starts tonight when the Sabres pick twice – 12th and 21st, compliments of ... Read the full article

©2012

Ruff feels Myers’ 3-game ban ‘a little harsh’

BUFFALO – Lindy Ruff said he “was surprised, disappointed” that the NHL banned Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers three games for ramming Montreal’s Scott Gomez into the boards from behind.

Both the coach and Myers knew the boarding penalty Monday, which concussed Gomez, would probably earn a suspension. But three games for a player with a clean record?

“I felt that as a first-time offender it was a little harsh,” Ruff said Wednesday prior to the ... Read the full article