Chris Taylor knows the Amerks and Sabres well. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Friendship with Sabres GM Jason Botterill led Chris Taylor back to Amerks

ROCHESTER – Barely a year ago, after 14 seasons with the Americans as an AHL player and assistant coach, Chris Taylor was let go, the victim of new head coach Dan Lambert’s desire to field his own staff.

On Thursday, the Amerks, the Buffalo Sabres’ top affiliate, introduced Taylor as the 32nd head coach in franchise history.

A fired coach, of course, rarely returns to his old team, let alone in a larger role so ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen met with the Sabres at the NHL Scouting Combine. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen sensed interest from Sabres

CHICAGO – When Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen surveys Buffalo’s goaltending depth chart, the 18-year-old Finn sees an opportunity. With Cal Petersen passing on the Sabres, the team wants another strong netminding prospect to fill the void.

So in the second round Saturday, 54th overall, the Sabres selected Luukkonen at the NHL Draft.... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was all smiles this morning. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen excited for opportunity with Sabres

CHICAGO – When Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen surveys Buffalo’s goaltending depth chart, the 18-year-old Finn sees an opportunity. With Cal Petersen passing on the Sabres, the team wants another strong netminding prospect to fill the void.

So in the second round this morning, 54th overall, the Sabres selected Luukkonen at the NHL Draft.... Read the full article

William Carrier played one season with the Sabres. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Golden Knights grab William Carrier; Sabres trade pick to club

CHICAGO – In the end, the Buffalo Sabres exposed winger William Carrier to the Vegas Golden Knights and sent the new club a sixth-round pick to lay off goalie prospect Linus Ullmark in the NHL Expansion Draft.

That price, of course, will look like a pittance if Ullmark, who was left unprotected, becomes Buffalo’s starter someday.

The Golden Knights officially selected Carrier on Wednesday night, about the same time the Sabres sent them the ... Read the full article

George McPhee can stock Vegas with strong talent. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

NHL Expansion Draft has evolved; Sabres could lose William Carrier

BUFFALO – Seventeen years ago, as president and general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Doug MacLean spent almost a year preparing for the NHL Expansion Draft.

“Hundreds and hundreds of hours went into it,” MacLean, now an analyst for Sportsnet, told the Times Herald by phone Saturday.... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander is the Sabres' top prospect in Rochester. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill plans to make Rochester a priority

BUFFALO – Very quietly, general manager Jason Botterill played a key role in the development of the talent that once made the Sabres a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Botterill played three seasons with the Rochester Americans, piling up goals while helping prospects like Paul Gaustad, Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek acclimate to the AHL and eventually graduate to the Sabres.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner (40) faces a shot Thursday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner thriving with heavy workload

BUFFALO – Fresh off a shutout victory, Sabres goalie Robin Lehner will start again this afternoon, his sixth straight nod and 10th in the last 11 games, the NHL’s heaviest workload of late.

At his current pace, Lehner would play 56 times this season. Today’s tilt against the scorching St. Louis Blues at KeyBank Center will be his 41st game this season, breaking a professional high he set five years ago in the AHL.

“We’re ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner (40) plays the puck Saturday in Toronto. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner to start against Canucks

BUFFALO – Instead of using backup Anders Nilsson, who has a 7-1-1 home record, the Sabres will start No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner for the second straight night.

Why?

“Been looking for this opportunity to give Robin a bigger workload,” coach Dan Bylsma said this morning inside KeyBank Center, where the Sabres host the Vancouver Canucks. “He’s getting an opportunity tonight.”

Lehner looked sturdy throughout Saturday’s 3-1 win in Toronto, making a season-high ... Read the full article

Evan Rodrigues grew up cheering for the Maple Leafs. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Toronto debut special for Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues

TORONTO – Growing up in Etobicoke, about a 20-minute drive from the Air Canada Centre, Alexander Mogilny’s talents mesmerized Buffalo Sabres rookie Evan Rodrigues.

By the early 2000s, long after his dynamic 76-goal season with the Sabres in 1992-93, Mogilny was still an electrifying presence for some strong Maple Leafs teams.

“He was always trying something new,” Rodrigues said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 win against the Leafs. “He always made some real ... Read the full article

The Sabres reclaimed Derek Grant on Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Derek Grant happy back with Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres center Derek Grant thought he had finally scored that elusive first NHL goal Jan. 17 in Vancouver, his hometown.

Scoring opportunities have been scarce for Grant, but a golden one materialized with a loose puck in the crease against the Canucks, one of six games he played with the Nashville Predators.

Grant furiously whacked away at the puck as goalie Ryan Miller tried to cover it up. He eventually put it in ... Read the full article