The Eichel Era

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Myers

Ray Sheppard scored 38 goals as a rookie in 1987-88. ©2016, Rochester Americans
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – As Sabres rookies Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart put the finishing touches on two outstanding, high-scoring seasons, one name from the team’s past keeps popping up: Ray Sheppard.

Each week, it seems, the young forwards become the team’s first rookies to reach or approach milestones since Sheppard, who scored 38 goals and 65 points in 74 games in 1987-88 before fizzling out and re-emerging as one of the NHL’s most dangerous scorers.

Sheppard’s name has also been coming up, ironically, …

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Former Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers (57) skates past Paul Byron last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Drew Stafford called it a “healthy separation.” The Winnipeg Jets winger said he has no ill will toward anyone here. He enjoyed his nine-year Sabres career.

As a struggling veteran months away from free agency last year, Stafford knew the rebuilding Sabres would trade him. Sure enough, Stafford, 30, was dealt with defenseman Tyler Myers on Feb. 11, 2015 in the blockbuster that brought defenseman Zach Bogosian and winger Evander Kane to the Sabres.

“I was kind of expecting something …

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Tyler Myers is out for the season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Tyler Myers’ first game back here will have to wait until another season. The Winnipeg Jets defenseman underwent knee surgery Thursday and will miss the rest of the year.

The Jets make their yearly visit to the First Niagara Center on Saturday afternoon.

After Myers’ knee is stabilized and the season ends, he will undergo major hip surgery that requires 16 to 20 weeks of recovery, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

“He needs his knee to rehab the hip,” Jets …

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Jack Eichel zooms in on Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk on March 5. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Thanks to a scheduling quirk three months ago, the Sabres enjoyed a six-day Christmas break, a rare opportunity to recharge during the rigorous six-month, 82-game season.

At that point, 33 games into his career, Sabres center Jack Eichel had nine goals and 16 points, terrific numbers for a 19-year-old. Still, those statistics ranked nowhere near the NHL’s elite.

Eichel used the time to go home to Boston and relax. Having played only 55 total games over eight months as a …

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Josh Gorges is a passionate player. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sometimes after a particularly rough shift, when Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges is gassed and trying to catch his breath, he’ll glance over and marvel at his partner Rasmus Ristolainen, an emerging star 10 years younger than him.

“Risto’s sitting there like he’s not even tired yet, and he was out there the same amount of time,” Gorges said Monday after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s road tilt against the Ottawa Senators.

In those moments, the passionate Gorges, 31, might give …

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The Sabres acquired Jason Kasdorf in February. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Some of hockey’s biggest young names switched teams in the Sabres’ blockbuster seven-player trade with the Winnipeg Jets in February.

The Sabres paid a hefty price for 30-goal winger Evander Kane and workhorse defenseman Zach Bogosian, giving up slick defenseman Tyler Myers, forward prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux, veteran winger Drew Stafford and a 2015 first-round pick.

Lost in the hubbub was a college goalie the Jets quietly sent the Sabres in the Feb. 11 deal.

Remember this name: Jason …

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Dan Bylsma returns to Pittsburgh on Oct. 29. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Before I run to catch a cab to switch hotels, here are some highlights from the 2015-16 Buffalo Sabres schedule the NHL released this morning.

– The Sabres, and perhaps the Jack Eichel era, open Oct. 8 at home against the Ottawa Senators at the First Niagara Center. They open with a season-high three-game home stand, one of seven on the schedule. The Sabres also don’t have a road trip more than three games, something unusual.

– Eichel, …

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Zemgus Girgensons could have a long career with the Sabres. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

SUNRISE, Fla. – How good have the Buffalo Sabres drafted in recent years? Judge for yourself below.

Since most drafts don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at the Sabres’ selections from 2007-12 and some notable hits and misses. Sixteen of Buffalo’s 45 draft choices over that time – 36 percent – have made the NHL.

The Sabres have eight picks at this weekend’s NHL Draft, including the No. 2 selection, which they will use to select mega-prospect …

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Marcus Foligno was playing some of his best hockey ever in December. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
5

BUFFALO – Given the Sabres’ sorry state these days, it’s almost difficult to remember now. But for a brief stretch earlier this season, they morphed into a young team on the rise, winning a string of exciting games in dramatic fashion.

The rebuilding club triumphed 10 times in 13 games – they have only 20 victories in 75 outings all season – during a rollicking run in November and December, roaring back night after night.

The Sabres were never out of any …

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The Sabres acquired Zach Bogosian on Feb. 11. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Zach Bogosian slipped into town under the radar last month. High-scoring winger Evander Kane and ace defenseman Tyler Myers garnered most of the attention in the Sabres’ blockbuster trade with the Winnipeg Jets, allowing the defenseman, the No. 3 pick in 2008, to quietly adjust to his new team.

“It’s kind of how I like it,” Bogosian said Thursday following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “I wanted to come here and work hard, show my worth to the …

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