Henri Jokiharju won two gold medals last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Henri Jokiharju impressed Sabres GM Jason Botterill before up-close look

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knew of Henri Jokiharju’s talents before he watched the defenseman up close during Team Finland’s run to a gold medal at the World Championship in the spring.

So even if Botterill hadn’t run Team Canada’s entry in Slovakia, the Sabres still might’ve dished winger Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Jokiharju on July 9.

“It certainly helps things out to see a player play on ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen compiled an NHL-worst minus-41 rating last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres want to put Rasmus Ristolainen in ‘positions to have success’

BUFFALO – General manager Jason Botterill said he wasn’t surprised or disappointed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen indicated in a Finnish interview last week he has asked the Sabres to be traded.

“There’s always stories coming out when players go back and … there’s stories from other organizations coming out of Finland and stuff, too,” Botterill said during Saturday’s Sabres Fan Fest inside KeyBank Center, an event that celebrated the team’s 50th anniversary season. “So those are ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson played with New Jersey and Boston last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Marcus Johansson excited about Sabres’ future: ‘It’s going to go well’

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Marcus Johansson began his NHL career playing center. When the Washington Capitals needed help there three years ago, he briefly moved back.

So, yes, Johansson, 28, certainly has experience at the position. But the Swede has spent the bulk of his nine-year career skating at left wing.

The Sabres, who signed Johansson to a two-year, $9 million contract on Saturday, need more depth down the middle.

So what role might he ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson began his NHL career as a center. ©2019, Hickling Images

Marcus Johansson open to any forward role with Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Marcus Johansson began his NHL career playing center. When the Washington Capitals needed help there three years ago, he briefly moved back.

So, yes, Johansson, 28, certainly has experience at the position. But the Swede has spent the bulk of his nine-year career skating at left wing.

The Sabres, who signed Johansson to a two-year, $9 million contract on Saturday, need more depth down the middle.

So what role might he ... Read the full article

Matt Duchene will land a huge contract in free agency. ©2019, Hickling Images

Trades, not free agents, likely Sabres’ best option for improving roster

BUFFALO – The Sabres must examine every option to improve their weak roster, so, yes, general manager Jason Botterill acknowledged, they’ve discussed some of the top free agents on the market.

It’s no secret center Matt Duchene would fill a glaring need as the No. 2 pivot behind Jack Eichel.

For a few years, even as the Sabres kept struggling, their greatest strength was up the middle.

Most teams are lucky to have one top ... Read the full article

Colin Miller has won a lot as a pro. ©2019, Hickling Images

Colin Miller’s arrival could spell end of Rasmus Ristolainen’s Sabres tenure

BUFFALO – Just weeks after the Vegas Golden Knights’ unlikely run to the Stanley Cup final in 2018, new Sabres defenseman Colin Miller inked a four-year, $15.5 million contract with the expansion team.

Having agreed to a team-friendly deal – fresh off a 10-goal, 41-point season, he signed for just $3.875 million a year – Miller, 26, probably figured he was in Vegas’ long-term plans.

But the Golden Knights’ early success has started to wreak ... Read the full article

Chris Taylor plans to soak up knowledge from the Sabres' new coaching staff. ©2019, Hickling Images

Chris Taylor happy with Amerks, likes Sabres’ hire of Ralph Krueger

BUFFALO – To many observers, Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor possesses the talent to run an NHL bench someday.

Not only have the Amerks enjoyed two successful seasons under the affable Taylor, players seem to love playing for him.

Not surprisingly, Taylor’s name came up during the Sabres’ search for Phil Housley’s replacement. Taylor, course, has close ties to general manager Jason Botterill, his friend and former teammate.... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart welcomed Dylan Cozens to the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Jason Botterill believes Sabres’ young talent terrific selling point

VANCOUVER – Shortly before the Sabres’ higher-ups traveled to the NHL Draft, Sam Reinhart told Jason Botterill he wanted join them during their stay in his hometown.

So one night, Reinhart met the general manager, coach Ralph Krueger and Terry and Kim Pegula for dinner.

Then on Friday, Reinhart, a winger the Sabres selected second overall in 2014, warmly greeted center Dylan Cozens after the team’s top pick left the draft floor inside Rogers Arena.... Read the full article

Jason Botterill thinks Rasmus Ristolainen can keep developing. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres GM Jason Botterill knows teams will ask about Rasmus Ristolainen

VANCOUVER – Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knows plenty of teams would like to pry away a 6-foot-4 defenseman capable of gobbling up minutes and producing points like Rasmus Ristolainen.

“We understand there’s going to be inquiries about him,” Botterill said Friday morning, hours before the NHL Draft inside Rogers Arena. “We’re open as an organization to continuing to try to find ways to improve our team. But we realize and we’re very ... Read the full article

Los Angeles' Jeff Carter pursues Rasmus Ristolainen last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rasmus Ristolainen might be Sabres’ biggest trade chip

VANCOUVER – Rasmus Ristolainen has certainly showcased flashes of brilliance as the Buffalo Sabres’ workhorse defenseman.

Remember when he torched superstar Brent Burns in November to extend the Sabres’ winning streak to 10 games? What about the time he took over a game in 2015-16 against the Calgary Flames, scoring a hat trick in just a 12-minute span?

Three years ago, the Finn appeared to be taking his first steps into stardom. The Sabres, ... Read the full article