Jack Eichel could have a new deal soon. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill optimistic about Jack Eichel’s contract extension

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill spoke optimistically this morning about young star Jack Eichel signing a contract extension in the near future.

“Our conversations with Jack and the group have gone extremely well,” Botterill said inside HarborCenter following the close of development camp. “We’ll continue those throughout the summer here and stuff to see if we can find a common ground. From our standpoint, we certainly want to get something done, and from ... Read the full article

Benoit Pouliot was a low-risk, high-reward option. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres offer Benoit Pouliot fresh chance

BUFFALO – Benoit Pouliot’s 11th NHL season quickly became his worst. On an upstart Edmonton Oilers team featuring superstar Connor McDavid and loads of other young talent, the veteran winger morphed into a weak link.

The struggles started early in 2016-17 for Pouliot, who signed a one-year, $1.15 million contract with the Sabres on Saturday. On Oct. 16, following one too many penalties, coach Todd McLellan benched him for the final 40 minutes of Edmonton’s ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel just completed a 57-point season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Report: Sabres start contract extension discussions with Jack Eichel

The Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel’s camp have started “preliminary discussions” about a contract extension for the star center, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The 20-year-old has one year with a base salary of $925,000 left on his entry-level deal. He can’t sign an extension until July 1.

If superstar Connor McDavid’s reported new contract – an eight-year deal with an average annual value of $13.25 million – is any indication, Eichel will break the ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart plays against the Penguins on March 21. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

2017-18 Sabres schedule features early date with Golden Knights

CHICAGO – Two games against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights and a home-and-home series with the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in early December are among the highlights of the 82-game 2017-18 Buffalo Sabres schedule the NHL released Thursday.

Some other notable dates, stretches and nuggets:

– The Sabres play the Golden Knights first the first time Oct. 17 in Vegas, the close of a four-game road trip that includes dates with the San Jose ... Read the full article

Timothy Liljegren worked out at the NHL Scouting Combine on June 3. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres could land strong defense prospect at NHL Draft

BUFFALO – Thanks to his famous name and a 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame, NHL Draft prospect Callan Foote has eyes on him whenever he hits the ice.

Foote, 18, usually doesn’t disappoint, either. A defenseman like his father, two-time Stanley Cup winner Adam Foote, he can dominate a game when he utilizes his big body, NHL Central Scouting’s Dave Gregory said. The youngster also possesses a special ability to transition the puck, a key talent in ... Read the full article

Nolan Patrick is the son of former Sabres first-rounder Steve Patrick. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres won’t get ‘headliner’ pick in NHL Draft Lottery

BUFFALO – You won’t find any slick youngsters like Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine – franchise-changing talents capable of starring in the NHL immediately – at the top of this year’s draft class.

“You don’t have that headliner, like (people) used that word ‘generational’ player,” Dan Marr, the NHL’s director of Central Scouting, told the Times Herald on Friday. “The fact you had back-to-back years with McDavid and Eichel ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (left) battles Auston Matthews on Tuesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Maple Leafs have improved faster than Sabres

TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.

After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.

Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. After Tuesday’s Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (right) has 10 goals and 17 points in 22 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Jack Eichel, Leafs’ Auston Matthews meet with Toronto surging

TORONTO – The Maple Leafs, like the Buffalo Sabres of a year ago, had to improve this season because 30th place was no longer their target.

After bottoming out on purpose, the Leafs added first overall pick Auston Matthews to their large stable of young talent. They also have Mike Babcock, arguably the NHL’s best coach.

Few, however, expected the upstart Leafs would be this good this soon. Right now, having won eight of the ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen has been logging big minutes. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Torrid stretch puts Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen in elite company

BUFFALO – The significance of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s recent exploits shouldn’t be overshadowed by the Sabres’ disappointing season.

In the near future, if Ristolainen becomes an NHL All-Star or garners serious Norris Trophy consideration, remember the torrid run he is enjoying entering tonight’s tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes at KeyBank Center.

Ristolainen has three goals, two overtime winners and 14 points while averaging a whopping 27 minutes, 41 seconds of ice time over the last ... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle (45) sticks his glove in Tim Schaller's face last Saturday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Brendan Guhle’s short stint leaves positive impression on Sabres

BUFFALO – In his first three NHL games, defenseman Brendan Guhle showcased consistency and poise, performing like a veteran, not a 19-year-old rookie the Sabres recalled from junior hockey on an emergency basis.

Guhle, less than a week into his big league career, quickly became one of the team’s top defensemen, helping solidify the injury-ravaged blue line.

But defensemen Josh Gorges and Dmitry Kulikov returned from injuries for Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, ... Read the full article