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Patrick Kaleta impressed the Sabres this training camp. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s facial injury isn’t as bad the Sabres originally feared, and the winger could miss as little as a month, coach Ted Nolan said Tuesday.

“It’s still serious,” Nolan said inside the First Niagara Center. “It’s not going to be a three-month thing. It’s could be a less-than-month type of thing. So we’re thankful for that.”

Kaleta and forward Johan Larsson were injured early in Sunday’s 3-2 shootout exhibition loss in Toronto. Larsson, Nolan said, is out about 10 …

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Matt Ellis captained Rochester last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Veteran forward Matt Ellis was among seven players the Sabres sent to Rochester this afternoon.

The Sabres also assigned: forwards Joel Armia and Tim Schaller; defensemen Drew Bagnall and Nick Petricki; goalies Nathan Lieuwen and Andrey Makarov.

Ellis and Bagnall must clear waivers to reach the AHL Americans. Ellis captained Rochester in 2012-13 and last season before earning a 50-game recall.

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Andrey Makarov hasn't played this preseason. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres aren’t bringing their ‘A’ squad to Toronto for tonight’s preseason contest against the Maple Leafs, but the lineup features a lot of youngsters and bubble players “that deserve to play,” coach Ted Nolan said.

“Camp’s far from over,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

First, here are forward lines: Cody Hodgson, Mikhail Grigorenko, Chris Stewart; Zac Dalpe, Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn; Joel Armia, Johan Larsson, Nick Deslauriers; Matt Ellis, Tim Schaller, Patrick Kaleta.

“You look at …

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Phil Varone played nine NHL games last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Phil Varone’s nine-game run last season grabbed coach Ted Nolan’s attention. The 5-foot-10 forward played well during his first NHL recall, compiling one goal and two points while taking a regular shift.

But Varone, who will play in today’s preseason opener in Washington, couldn’t convert a slew of scoring opportunities he generated.

“The difference between him and (Martin) St. Louis and players of that caliber who’s a smaller structure, when they have an opportunity to put it, they put it …

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Linus Ullmark will play one more season in his native Sweden. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – It was a low-risk move. In 2012, the Sabres wanted to find a late-round steal in net. The team’s new European scouts scoured Finland and Sweden, two countries known for producing hidden goaltending gems.

Eventually, the Sabres drafted Linus Ullmark, a little-known Swede, in the sixth round, 163rd overall.

Barely two years later, Ullmark has developed into a legitimate NHL prospect. The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in the Swedish Hockey League last year, compiling a gaudy .931 save percentage …

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Sean Malone (gold) has played well since the Sabres drafted him. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As a sixth-round pick, center Sean Malone faces some long odds to crack the NHL someday. But the West Seneca native has been developing rapidly since the Sabres selected him 159th overall in 2013.

The 19-year-old earned Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year honors last season. He’ll be participating in Team USA’s world junior camp next month in Lake Placid.

In the Dan Hickling photo above, Malone nearly scores on goalie Nathan Lieuwen in close during Friday’s three-on-three development camp …

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Rasmus Ristolainen (right) battles Brendan Lemieux during Tuesday's scrimmage. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – While other Sabres prospects have packed on weight this summer, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has “lost a couple pounds.”

“Fat, not any muscles,” the 19-year-old Finn said following Tuesday’s development camp scrimmage inside the First Niagara Center.

The 6-foot-4, 207-pound Ristolainen showcased some muscle early in the contest, hitting top prospect Sam Reinhart.

“I don’t watch who I’m hitting,” Ristolainen said. “If I get a chance, I hit. That’s all.”

Later on, Ristolainen and agitating winger Brendan Lemieux jawed at the end of …

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Jordan Samuels-Thomas was drafted by Atlanta. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – As a seventh-round pick, Jordan Samuels-Thomas faced some long odds to earn an NHL contract. But the 6-foot-4, 220-pound winger possesses size, a precious commodity in today’s game.

The Sabres have made it no secret they covet “heavy,” hard-to-play-against talent for their rebuild. So they shipped a 2015 seventh-rounder to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday for Samuels-Thomas’ rights.

They signed the Connecticut native to a one-year, two-way contract Saturday.

“I was excited about a new opportunity with an organization that’s really …

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Joel Armia hasn't played in a regular-season NHL game yet. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

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 first in North America. The 21-year-old broke his hand during an …

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Tyler Myers missed the last 10 games. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Tyler Myers’ season isn’t over yet. The Sabres defenseman said the broken ribs that sidelined him the final 10 games have mostly healed. The 24-year-old will likely accept an invitation to play for Team Canada at next month’s world championship.

Myers crashed into the net March 25 in Montreal. He didn’t reveal his injury until Monday.

“It’s coming along quite well,” Myers said as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held end-of-season meetings inside the First Niagara Center. “I …

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