Henri Jokiharju won two gold medals last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Henri Jokiharju impressed Sabres GM Jason Botterill before up-close look

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knew of Henri Jokiharju’s talents before he watched the defenseman up close during Team Finland’s run to a gold medal at the World Championship in the spring.

So even if Botterill hadn’t run Team Canada’s entry in Slovakia, the Sabres still might’ve dished winger Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Jokiharju on July 9.

“It certainly helps things out to see a player play on ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen compiled an NHL-worst minus-41 rating last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres want to put Rasmus Ristolainen in ‘positions to have success’

BUFFALO – General manager Jason Botterill said he wasn’t surprised or disappointed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen indicated in a Finnish interview last week he has asked the Sabres to be traded.

“There’s always stories coming out when players go back and … there’s stories from other organizations coming out of Finland and stuff, too,” Botterill said during Saturday’s Sabres Fan Fest inside KeyBank Center, an event that celebrated the team’s 50th anniversary season. “So those are ... 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

Alexander Nylander spent three seasons in the Sabres organization. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Trading Alexander Nylander was inevitable for Sabres

BUFFALO – Following another underwhelming season, it felt like only a matter of time before the Sabres cut their losses and traded winger Alexander Nylander.

Through three years as a pro, Nylander, the eighth overall pick by the Sabres’ old regime in 2016, has mostly been a bust.

Sure, the Swede has occasionally showcased his slick skills. Still, he hasn’t consistently displayed the tenacity to match them.

Nylander, 21, couldn’t develop into a dominant ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson spent seven seasons in Washington. ©2019, Hickling Images

Signing Marcus Johansson gives Sabres scoring, playoff experience

In signing Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $9 million contract on Saturday, the Buffalo Sabres addressed a major need, adding a winger capable of filling a top-six role.

Johansson, 28, can also play center, so he offers the Sabres, who need help down the middle, versatility.

The Swede has played 90 NHL playoff games, more than any other Sabre. He just played 22 contests during the Boston Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup final.

That ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson began his career in Washington. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sign Marcus Johansson to two-year, $9 million contract

The Buffalo Sabres made their first notable addition in free agency today, signing winger Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $9 million contract.

Johansson, 28, can skate on the first or second line and, having played 94 career NHL playoff games, possesses more postseason experience than any Sabre.

The Swede can also play center. The Sabres, of course, need someone to pivot the second line.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Johansson has compiled 120 goals, 334 points and ... Read the full article

Colin Miller has won a lot as a pro. ©2019, Hickling Images

Colin Miller’s arrival could spell end of Rasmus Ristolainen’s Sabres tenure

BUFFALO – Just weeks after the Vegas Golden Knights’ unlikely run to the Stanley Cup final in 2018, new Sabres defenseman Colin Miller inked a four-year, $15.5 million contract with the expansion team.

Having agreed to a team-friendly deal – fresh off a 10-goal, 41-point season, he signed for just $3.875 million a year – Miller, 26, probably figured he was in Vegas’ long-term plans.

But the Golden Knights’ early success has started to wreak ... Read the full article

Colin Miller spent two seasons in Vegas. ©2019, Hickling Images

Colin Miller on joining Sabres: ‘It’s going to be a great opportunity’

BUFFALO – Just weeks after the Vegas Golden Knights’ unlikely run to the Stanley Cup final last year, new Sabres defenseman Colin Miller signed a four-year, $15.5 million contract with the expansion team.

Having inked a such a team-friendly deal – it has just a $3.875 million salary cap hit – Miller, 26, figured he was in Vegas’ long-term plans.

But the Golden Knights’ early success has created cap problems this offseason. They’ve been forced ... Read the full article

Colin Miller gives the Sabres five right-handed defensemen. ©2019, Hickling Images

Colin Miller’s acquisition could be start of busy summer for Sabres

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ acquisition of defenseman Colin Miller from the Vegas Golden Knights for two draft picks Friday night will only fuel speculation more moves are coming soon.

Right-shot defenseman are coveted by NHL teams. The Sabres now possess five of them, a high number they must trim to create more balance on their defense pairs.

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, of course, is a righty. After six seasons of losing in Buffalo, a ... Read the full article

The Sabres could have another trade in the works. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres acquire Colin Miller from Golden Knights

BUFFALO – The Sabres acquired defenseman Colin Miller from the Vegas Golden Knights tonight for a second-round pick in 2021 and a fifth-round selection in 2022.

The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Miller, 26, compiled three goals and 26 points in 65 games last season. Miller has three years left on a contract that pays him $3.875 million annually.... Read the full article