Carter Hutton played a career-high 50 games last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton to start opener; Evan Rodrigues to sit

PITTSBURGH – In almost equal preseason action, Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark outplayed Carter Hutton, posting a goals-against average 64 points lower and a save percentage 49 points higher than his partner.

But Hutton, 33, handled the load last season, playing a career-high 50 games.

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger, who said everything was up for competition during training camp, probably wants to show Hutton respect on opening night against the Penguins.

The veteran will ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger hasn't coached an NHL game since 2013. ©2019, Hickling Images

Communication skills help Ralph Krueger win over Sabres early

PITTSBURGH – Kyle Okposo figures they spent 10 minutes talking about hockey. For most of the evening, the three Buffalo Sabres veterans dining with their new coach, Ralph Krueger, discussed their backgrounds and families.

The sport that consumes so much of their lives didn’t come up much.

“We barely talked about hockey,” Okposo said of the get-together.

When the Sabres hired Krueger on May 15, he hadn’t coached in the NHL in six years. ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe has battled shoulder problems in the past. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jake McCabe to miss rest of preseason

BUFFALO – An upper-body injury will sideline Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe the rest of the preseason, the team announced this morning.

“It was in practice yesterday, just light upper body,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said inside KeyBank Center. “We’re expecting him to be good to go for the first league game.”

McCabe, 25, has battled shoulder problems in the past.

In addition to McCabe, four other Sabres defensemen – Zach Bogosian (hip), Matt Hunwick (neck), ... Read the full article

Colin Miller comes from a winning background in Vegas. ©2019, Hickling Images

Colin Miller hopes to bring lessons learned with Golden Knights to Sabres

BUFFALO – Two years ago, Sabres defenseman Colin Miller joined the Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team filled with castoffs hungry for an opportunity.

Within a matter of weeks, a group that had little or no expectations began one of the greatest and most unique seasons in NHL history.

Players who had never spent any time together quickly meshed. The Golden Knights morphed into a powerhouse and would become the unlikeliest Stanley Cup finalist ever.... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson was traded to Boston last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Marcus Johansson learned from short tenure with Bruins

BUFFALO – Counting 22 postseason appearances, forward Marcus Johansson played 32 games with the Bruins. The Swede arrived in Boston on Feb. 25 and was gone by July 6, when he signed a two-year, $9 million contract with the Sabres.

But Johansson’s short run with one of the NHL’s model franchises recharged his career.

After battling injuries, including two concussions, with the New Jersey Devils over a season and a half, Johansson played regularly throughout ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens could be assigned to junior soon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens ready for NHL preseason debut

BUFFALO – Coach Ralph Krueger wants center Dylan Cozens to relax during tonight’s preseason opener. Throughout the recent Prospects Challenge rookie tournament, the Sabres’ top pick often tried to do to much.

“He was trying to be a different-maker every time on the ice,” Krueger said after the Sabres prepared for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The seventh overall pick knows he must calm down a little.

“I can’t be out there trying to dangle everyone and ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen sounds like a guy who wants a change of scenery. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen back in Buffalo, but for how long?

BUFFALO – Rasmus Ristolainen rarely says much. On a good day, if you see the Sabres defenseman, he might answer a question by offering a couple vanilla sentences.

So if Ristolainen talks to the media today after training camp opens, we probably won’t learn much about his conversations with the Sabres over the summer or how he spent the last five months.

Does Ristolainen, 24, feel like he needs a change of scenery? Did he ... Read the full article

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