Robin Lehner played in a career-high 59 games last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign goalie Robin Lehner to one-year contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres have avoided arbitration with Robin Lehner, signing the starting goalie to a one-year, $4 million contract, the team announced this morning.

Lehner, a restricted free agent, had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Not surprisingly, with a new regime and Lehner light on experience as a No. 1 goalie, the Sabres went with a short-term deal. Lehner will be an RFA again next year.

In his first full season as ... Read the full article

Phil Housley likes Marco Scandella's talents. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley likes defense, plans to lean on Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – In a two-week span last month, general manager Jason Botterill addressed the Sabres’ most glaring weakness by acquiring defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella.

Is either player elite? Hardly. Still, as puck-moving defenders, Beaulieu and Scandella offer talents the Sabres sorely lacked last season and add some much-needed depth.... Read the full article

Davis Payne most recently spent time with Los Angeles. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Davis Payne as associate coach

BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Davis Payne as the associate coach on new head coach Phil Housley’s staff, the team announced today.

In Payne, Housley, who has never been an NHL head coach, has a top assistant with NHL head coaching experience. Payne led the St. Louis Blues over three seasons from 2009 to 2011.

The 46-year-old most recently served as an assistant with the Los Angeles Kings for five seasons, winning a Stanley ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson (31) played 45 games with the Sabres in 2015-16. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson has ‘unfinished business’ in Buffalo

BUFFALO – Some of the faces familiar to Sabres goalie Chad Johnson are gone. Tim Murray, the general manager who originally acquired him, has been fired. So has Dan Bylsma, the coach who played him regularly two seasons ago.

Still, Johnson, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract to return after free agency opened today, feels a certain comfort in Buffalo and believes he has “unfinished business” to make the Sabres a playoff team.... Read the full article

Chad Johnson played for the Sabres in 2015-16. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Chad Johnson, Benoit Pouliot as free agency opens

BUFFALO – The Sabres brought back an old friend shortly after free agency opened today, signing backup goalie Chad Johnson to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.

The 31-year-old spent last season with his hometown Calgary Flames, going 18-15-1 with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 36 games.... Read the full article

Marco Scandella can move the puck. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres add missing defense piece in Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – NHL general managers, the Sabres’ Jason Botterill said, are “very greedy.”

“You always want to have more defense out there,” Botterill said Friday after after acquiring defenseman Marco Scandella and bringing back former captain Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild for wingers Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.... Read the full article

Jason Pominville left the Sabres in 2013. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres acquire Marco Scandella, Jason Pominville from Wild for Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno

BUFFALO – Jason Botterill’s first multi-player trade is a big one, as the Sabres general manager today acquired defenseman Marco Scandella and former team captain Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for wingers Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.

“My little guy already has his jersey on right now, so he’s pumped and we’re excited,” Pominville said this afternoon on a conference call. “I couldn’t be happier for me and my family going somewhere ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson spent last season in Calgary. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres face challenges adding talent in free agency

BUFFALO – For a team fresh off a last-place finish, the Sabres have a high number of contracts, including a few bloated ones, in place for next season.

Counting restricted free agents expected to be back, the Sabres already have about 19 players who could be regulars in 2017-18. Veterans Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges and Matt Moulson combine for more than $14 million of salary cap space.

Bad teams usually don’t approach the cap, but ... Read the full article

Taylor Fedun played 27 NHL games last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Taylor Fedun to two-year contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres added defense depth today, re-signing Taylor Fedun to a two-year, two-way contract.

The 29-year-old could’ve become an unrestricted free agent Saturday.

Fedun split last season between the NHL and AHL, compiling career-high seven assists and seven points in 27 games, all career highs.

The Princeton product also had five goals and 23 points in 29 appearances with the Rochester Americans.

Fedun showcased some of his offensive prowess on the power play ... 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