Linus Ullmark finished poorly last season after a fast start. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark upbeat following tough season

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark figured he was better equipped to handle the grind of a seven-month, 82-game NHL season.

Ullmark, after all, thrived while carrying the load in his final two AHL seasons, playing 99 games before graduating to the NHL.

“But it’s a totally different thing, totally different beast to tame when you get up here in ‘The Show,’” Ullmark said Friday following the opening sessions of training camp inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger (center) is flanked by Sabres owner Terry Pegula (right) and vice president of media relations Chris Bandura on June 5. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Ralph Krueger expects to begin training camp with Rasmus Ristolainen

BUFFALO – In the lockout-shortened season Ralph Krueger spent as an NHL coach in 2012-13, teams held abbreviated training camps in January.

So the Sabres coach has never ran a regular big league camp. Almost seven years ago, his Edmonton Oilers quickly convened for a camp that lasted less than a week.

Still, having spent most of his coaching career in international hockey, Krueger, 60, has ran plenty of camps.

“I have a big national ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen underwent hip surgery in April. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s recovery ‘right on track’

BUFFALO – Top Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is “right on track” in his recovery from hip surgery, assistant general manager Randy Sexton said.

“He’s making great progress,” Sexton said prior to Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in the Prospects Challenge rookie tournament.

Still, Luukkonen will miss training camp. When the Finn underwent surgery in April, the Sabres said he would make a full recovery in six months.

They intend on sticking ... Read the full article

Scott Wedgewood quietly enjoyed a terrific season in Rochester. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Former Sabres, Amerks have landed new contracts all over

On a Rochester Americans team loaded with scorers and high-end AHL talent, goalie Scott Wedgewood’s exploits often got overshadowed.

But for much of the 2018-19 campaign, Wedgewood was the Amerks’ backbone, tending some of the league’s best goal.

After Christmas, Wedgewood won 16 of his first 21 appearances. Overall, he enjoyed a career season, compiling 28 victories and five shutouts in 48 games.

Still, it was evident Wedgewood, 26, would be moving on. The seven-year ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju spent 2017-18 with the Portland Winterhawks. ©2019, Hickling Images

Henri Jokiharju believes joining Sabres ‘a great opportunity’

BUFFALO – In January, defenseman Henri Jokiharju earned a gold medal at the World Junior Championship on a Finnish squad that featured Sabres prospects Oskari Laaksonen and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Jokiharju grew up with Laaksonen, another defenseman, in Tampere, and is one of his best friends. Jokiharju and Luukkonen, a youngster tabbed as Buffalo’s goalie of the future, played together with Team Finland at tournaments as teenagers.

After World Juniors, Jokiharju, 20, probably figured he ... Read the full article

Andrew Hammond has earned the nickname "The Hamburglar." ©2019, Hickling Images

Season spent in minors special for Sabres goalie Andrew Hammond

BUFFALO – Last season, for the first time in his six-year career, new Sabres goalie Andrew Hammond didn’t play a single NHL game.

Even as an undrafted rookie in 2013-14, Hammond earned 35 minutes of big league action. In 2017-18, a tough campaign in which he bounced around and started just one regular-season contest, he won a playoff game for the Colorado Avalanche.

But last year, the affable Hammond, 31, spent the entire season with ... Read the full article

Curtis Lazar has spent most of his pro career in the NHL. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sign Andrew Hammond, Curtis Lazar and others for depth

BUFFALO – As general manager Jason Botterill promised, the Sabres added a third goalie shortly after free agency opened Monday, signing veteran Andrew Hammond.

Hammond, whose one-year, one-way deal is worth $700,000, is best known for compiling a 20-1-2 record as a rookie with the Ottawa Senators in 2014-15 and earning “The Hamburglar” nickname.

Overall, Hammond, 31, has put together a 27-15-6 mark with a 2.31 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and four shutouts ... Read the full article

Andrew Hammond enjoyed an amazing rookie season with Ottawa in 2014-15. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres add depth, sign Andrew Hammond, Curtis Lazar and others

BUFFALO – As general manager Jason Botterill promised, the Sabres added a third goalie today, signing veteran Andrew Hammond to a one-year, $700,000 contract.

Hammond, 31, is best known for compiling a 20-1-2 record as a rookie with the Ottawa Senators in 2014-15.

Overall, Hammond has put together a 27-15-6 mark with a 2.31 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and four shutouts in 56 career NHL outings.

Hammond spent last season with the Iowa ... 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

Erik Portillo has some gaudy equipment. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres goalie prospect Erik Portillo stands out on ice

BUFFALO – You can’t miss Erik Portillo on the ice. In addition to being one of three Sabres prospects listed at 6-foot-6 on the roster, the Swede sports the gaudiest equipment of any of the six goalies in development camp.

European teams love plastering advertising everywhere, and Portillo’s Frölunda gear features plenty. Even the back of his pants have two McDonald’s logos.

But fans attending this morning’s three-on-three tournament, the conclusion of the four-day camp ... Read the full article