Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played his first four NHL games last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen developed ‘swagger’ on way up to Sabres

BUFFALO – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen displayed it often last season, especially toward the end. The Sabres goalie prospect would become locked in and perform so well he developed some swagger.

Luukkonen, 22, wasn’t boisterous, mind you. The Finn simply possessed what Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert called an “incredible presence.”

“It’s just like something you feel during the games,” Luukkonen said of his swagger. “But I think it’s more you build up that confidence. And once ... Read the full article

J-J Peterka arrived in Buffalo on Saturday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect J-J Peterka thrilled to finally be in Buffalo: ‘He’s buzzing’

BUFFALO – Finally, after 10 months of waiting, Sabres prospect J-J Peterka was set to leave Germany and travel here to prepare for his first NHL training camp.

In normal times, of course, Peterka, 19, probably would’ve visited Buffalo two or three times over the last year. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the winger to stay home.

“I was so curious about it, so excited the whole last year,” a smiling Peterka said following Wednesday’s ... Read the full article

Jason Payne played 14 pro seasons before becoming a coach. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Cincinnati’s Jason Payne becomes pro hockey’s only Black head coach

The Cincinnati Cyclones on Tuesday became North America’s only pro hockey team with a Black head coach after promoting Jason Payne to the position.

Payne, 45, has spent two seasons as an assistant with the Cyclones, the Buffalo Sabres’ ECHL affiliate. He replaces Matt Thomas, who recently left to become an assistant with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate. Payne will also be the Cyclones’ director of hockey operations.

The Sabres started sending prospects to ... Read the full article

New Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson spent 10 seasons in Ottawa. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres offer goalie Craig Anderson unique opportunity at age 40

Fifteen days during the 2005-06 season altered the path of Craig Anderson’s career.

During that uncertain stretch, Anderson pinballed around the NHL, getting plucked off waivers three times. He bounced from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues before returning to Chicago.

The experience taught Anderson, who signed a one-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres on July 28, the fleeting nature of an NHL goalie’s career. He learned he was too ... Read the full article

Michael Houser played his first four NHL games last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Goalie Michael Houser returns to Sabres organization on AHL contract

Goalie Michael Houser, who made his NHL debut late last season and started the Buffalo Sabres’ final four games, will be back in the organization next year.

The Rochester Americans on Thursday announced they’ve agreed to terms with Houser, 28, on a one-year AHL contract.

Houser, who has spent most of his career in the ECHL, became one of the hockey’s feel-good stories last spring, cracking the NHL for the first time in his ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants to be traded. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams sends strong message to Jack Eichel’s camp

BUFFALO – General manager Kevyn Adams’ strong words sounded like a not-so-subtle message to Jack Eichel’s agents, who recently said they expect the Sabres to trade their captain soon.

Adams won’t give in to Eichel’s demands and simply deal his best player because he wants out. The Sabres have an asset under contract.

“What’s critically important to make sure is clear that we’re in control of this process,” Adams said Thursday inside KeyBank Center. “We ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark first joined Buffalo in 2015. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Linus Ullmark says goodbye to Buffalo: ‘Sabres fans, I love you guys’

In the barely a week, the Buffalo Sabres have said goodbye to four of their most talented players: goalie Linus Ullmark, center Sam Reinhart and defensemen Jake McCabe and Rasmus Ristolainen.

And in the coming days or weeks, they will likely trade captain Jack Eichel, their most dynamic player and the face of the franchise.

Remember, the Sabres finished dead last in the 2020-21 season, winning only 15 of their 56 games, with those players... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark enjoyed a stellar season on a bad team in 2020-21. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Losing top goalie Linus Ullmark in free agency would be huge blow to Sabres

The days of the Sabres trying to lure big-name free agents to Buffalo are over. When the market opens today, they’ll likely be bit players, focusing on filling some of their many holes and adding depth while attempting to re-sign goalie Linus Ullmark.

Ullmark’s departure would be a massive blow to the Sabres. The Swede, their backbone and MVP, earned nine of the team’s 15 wins last season in only 20 outings.

They don’t ... Read the full article

Devon Levi should make his college debut at Northeastern in October. ©2021, Jim Pearce, Northeastern

Sabres have unique goalie prospect in Team Canada star Devon Levi

On his bedroom door, Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Devon Levi has a small whiteboard he writes two numbers on every morning.

On Monday, the board read 39 – the number of days remaining in his summer training – and 69 – the number of days until the Northeastern Huskies’ 2021-22 season opener.

“Oh, I’m counting the days,” Levi told the Times Herald by phone Monday.

If everything goes as planned, Levi, who was acquired by ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was Buffalo’s backbone last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Linus Ullmark, Jake McCabe could leave Sabres in free agency

BUFFALO – Throughout the offseason, the Sabres have stayed in regular contact with Linus Ullmark’s agent and stressed they want the Swede to be their No. 1 goalie.

The Sabres sorely need Ullmark, their backbone and team MVP. While prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked impressive in limited NHL action late last season, he’s ticketed to return to the minors for more seasoning.

They don’t have another netminder in the pipeline ready to assume the starting job.... Read the full article