Robin Lehner played in a career-high 59 games last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign goalie Robin Lehner to one-year contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres have avoided arbitration with Robin Lehner, signing the starting goalie to a one-year, $4 million contract, the team announced this morning.

Lehner, a restricted free agent, had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Not surprisingly, with a new regime and Lehner light on experience as a No. 1 goalie, the Sabres went with a short-term deal. Lehner will be an RFA again next year.

In his first full season as ... Read the full article

Brett Murray joined Penn State for the second semester. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Brett Murray happy at Penn State

BUFFALO – In early January, as the upstart Penn State men’s hockey team vaulted up the USCHO poll to the brink of a No. 1 national ranking, the Nittany Lions welcomed a new player, Sabres prospect Brett Murray.

Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky wondered how the NCAA freshman would assimilate to a team enjoying its best season ever.

“For a freshman to come in halfway through the season, I think could be, if the guy ... Read the full article

Brian Gionta is a free agent. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Brian Gionta likely won’t return to Sabres

BUFFALO – The chances of veteran winger Brian Gionta returning to the Sabres for his 16th NHL season “are pretty remote,” his agent said today.

“While we haven’t slammed the door – and I don’t think they have, either – I think they’ve also been pretty honest that it’s probably going to be a fairly unlikely scenario,” Steve Bartlett told the Times Herald. “So I’ve been focusing on trying to look at other opportunities for ... Read the full article

Phil Housley likes Marco Scandella's talents. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley likes defense, plans to lean on Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – In a two-week span last month, general manager Jason Botterill addressed the Sabres’ most glaring weakness by acquiring defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella.

Is either player elite? Hardly. Still, as puck-moving defenders, Beaulieu and Scandella offer talents the Sabres sorely lacked last season and add some much-needed depth.... Read the full article

Sean Malone played one NHL game last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Sean Malone healthy, ready for pro hockey

BUFFALO – Before Sabres prospect Sean Malone knew it, his short taste of the NHL, the finishing touch on his whirlwind season, was over.

On April 6, the West Seneca native played his 115th and final game with Harvard, a 2-1 loss to Minnesota Duluth in the semifinal of the NCAA Tournament. Two days later, Malone debuted with the Sabres, skating 12 minutes, 12 seconds in their 3-0 road loss to the Florida Panthers.... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle is the Sabres' top defense prospect. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Brendan Guhle, other Sabres prospects must prove themselves

BUFFALO – As Brendan Guhle watched the Nashville Predators’ recent run to the Stanley Cup final, the Sabres prospect developed an appreciation for their dynamic defense corps, a group coached by Phil Housley.

So when the Sabres named Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman, head coach June 15, Guhle said he was “pretty excited.”... Read the full article

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

Chris Taylor played for the Sabres. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill believes Chris Taylor right fit for Amerks

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill learned 15 years ago Chris Taylor possessed the qualities to coach someday.

Back then, with Taylor feeding Botterill, the two formed one of the AHL’s most lethal scoring duos. But Taylor adjusted his game when he occasionally earned promotions from the Rochester Americans to the Sabres.... Read the full article

Chad Johnson (31) played 45 games with the Sabres in 2015-16. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Chad Johnson has ‘unfinished business’ in Buffalo

BUFFALO – Some of the faces familiar to Sabres goalie Chad Johnson are gone. Tim Murray, the general manager who originally acquired him, has been fired. So has Dan Bylsma, the coach who played him regularly two seasons ago.

Still, Johnson, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract to return after free agency opened today, feels a certain comfort in Buffalo and believes he has “unfinished business” to make the Sabres a playoff team.... Read the full article

Marco Scandella can move the puck. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres add missing defense piece in Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – NHL general managers, the Sabres’ Jason Botterill said, are “very greedy.”

“You always want to have more defense out there,” Botterill said Friday after after acquiring defenseman Marco Scandella and bringing back former captain Jason Pominville from the Minnesota Wild for wingers Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.... Read the full article