Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson spent three years in college. ©2016, Andy Visockis, Minnesota State Athletics

Casey Nelson defied odds to reach Sabres

BUFFALO – Barely two years ago, Casey Nelson wasn’t ready for NCAA hockey. After some notable gaffes early in his freshman season, the newest Sabres defenseman got yanked from the lineup.

“His first couple games in college hockey were tough,” said Mike Hastings, who coached Nelson three seasons at Minnesota State University.

Nelson, 23, sat out a chunk of his first season before finally earning regular duty late in the year.

“I kind of got ... Read the full article

Hudson Fasching made an appearance at the First Niagara Center in 2012 at the All-American Prospects Game. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookies Hudson Fasching, Casey Nelson set to debut

BUFFALO – Somewhere in Minnesota earlier today, the Fasching family was probably anxiously waiting for Sabres rookie Hudson Fasching to phone home with some special news.

“I think they’re kind of ready if they get the call,” Fasching said this afternoon inside the First Niagara Center.

Minutes after Fasching spoke, following a chat with Sabres coach Dan Bylsma, he likely called his parents to tell them he would be making his NHL debut Saturday afternoon ... Read the full article

Hudson Fasching was excited to practice Thursday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres rookies Hudson Fasching, Casey Nelson ready for NHL careers

BUFFALO – Hudson Fasching, of course, was supposed to crack the NHL. The Sabres rookie developed rapidly at the University of Minnesota, becoming one of the NCAA’s best power forwards by his junior season.

A year ago, Fasching, 20, decided he would turn pro following his third year.

But defenseman Casey Nelson, who debuted at practice with Fasching on Thursday, experienced a tougher route to the Sabres. The undrafted Nelson, 23, is ... Read the full article

Hudson Fasching just ended his college career. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Hudson Fasching, Casey Nelson excited to join Sabres

BUFFALO – The Sabres rookies took different paths from college to the NHL.

Winger Hudson Fasching decided last year he would turn pro following his junior season. Meanwhile, defenseman Casey Nelson wasn’t sure a month ago if he would leave school after three seasons.

Of course, Fasching, 20, was supposed to here. The power forward’s stock steadily rose at the University of Minnesota after Los Angeles drafted him in 2013.

The undrafted Nelson, who called ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson just finished his junior season. ©2016, Andy Visockis, Minnesota State Athletics

Sabres sign NCAA defenseman Casey Nelson to entry-level contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres have signed Minnesota State University defenseman Casey Nelson to an entry-level contract, the team announced this afternoon.

The 6-foot-2, 182-pound Nelson, 23, was considered one of the best NCAA free agent defensemen available.

Nelson just finished his junior season with the Mavericks, compiling six goals, 22 points and a plus-14 rating in 40 games. The Wisconsin native scored 14 goals and 60 points in 99 career appearances.

“We’ve been consistently impressed ... Read the full article

Logan Nelson had 23 goals in 2013-14. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres don’t sign draft pick Logan Nelson

BUFFALO – Unless there’s a late announcement coming, the Sabres didn’t sign forward Logan Nelson before today’s deadline to ink 2012 non-collegiate draft choices.

The Sabres signed all the junior and European players from that class, including goalie Linus Ullmark and defenseman Brady Austin, two prospects picked after they selected Nelson in the fifth round, 133rd overall.

Nelson had 23 goals and 54 points in 59 games with the Western Hockey League’s Victoria ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons scored twice Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Zemgus Girgensons starting to showcase offensive ability

BUFFALO – With 8:12 left in the second period of Sunday’s preseason opener, Sabres prospect Zemgus Girgensons grabbed Kevin Porter’s pass off the boards at the Montreal blue line and zoomed in down the right wing.

A second later, the Latvian whistled a shot by goalie Zachary Fucale’s glove from the faceoff dot, the second goal of his NHL preseason debut.

“I was pretty happy with myself,” Girgensons said this afternoon inside the First Niagara ... Read the full article

Kevin Devine spends most of his time working on the NHL Entry Draft. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

More on Sabres’ final draft picks

PITTSBURGH – More on the Buffalo Sabres’ final five picks Saturday during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft:

Justin Kea, center, Sagina Spirit, Ontario Hockey League, third round, 73rd overall

Despite only three goals and 11 points in 65 games to go with his 76 penalty minutes, amateur scouting director Kevin Devine believes Kea has strong upside.

“If you look at his stats, they’re not very good,” he said. “Halfway through the season they fired ... Read the full article

The Sabres moved up to take Zemgus Girgensons 14th overall. ©2012, Jim Naprstek, Dubuque Fighting Saints

Sabres leave draft excited about early picks

PITTSBURGH – A blockbuster trade for established talent never materialized. Instead, the Buffalo Sabres dished two high choices to Calgary early, grabbed their second coveted center during a wild first round and kept on picking.

They selected six players in the final six rounds Saturday, the NHL Entry Draft’s second and final day – three centers, two defensemen and one goalie – and left the Consol Energy feeling good about their eight total choices.

The ... Read the full article