Casey Nelson played seven NHL games last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Justin Falk, Casey Nelson battling for Sabres’ last defense spot

BUFFALO – The blue line has been set for three months. When Dmitry Kulikov arrived via a trade at the NHL Draft, the Sabres had their sixth and final piece, a physical, puck-moving defenseman capable of playing top-pair minutes.

So barring an injury, a Rasmus Ristolainen contract problem or a very impressive training camp from a depth defender, the Sabres have their opening-night lineup: Kulikov, Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian, Cody Franson, Josh Gorges and ... Read the full article

Tyler Ennis looked strong Tuesday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Tyler Ennis strong in debut, will face Leafs

BUFFALO – In his first game in almost nine months Tuesday, slick Sabres winger Tyler Ennis skated aggressively, proving the season-ending concussion he suffered Dec. 30 wasn’t lingering in his mind.

“I like the way he skated,” coach Dan Bylsma said after the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. “He played with some urgency, he played with some jam. In the third period, he drew the penalty with his skating.... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander has looked good so far in training camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Top Sabres pick Alexander Nylander to debut in preseason opener

BUFFALO – Some quick updates this morning from KeyBank Center, where the Sabres prepared for tonight’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Wild before flying to Penn State University:

– The Sabres will use a mix of veterans, youngsters and AHL players for the tilt at Pegula Ice Arena.

Eighth overall pick Alexander Nylander, whose early training camp play has impressed coach Dan Bylsma, will debut on the left wing beside center Cal O’Reilly and ... Read the full article

Cody Franson suffered a season-ending injury Feb. 19. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres need more defense depth

How remarkably healthy did the Buffalo blue line stay in 2015-16? The Sabres recalled a defenseman as an injury replacement just once.

Think about that. Over the course of the grueling six-month, 82-game season, the Sabres only dipped into the AHL on March 18, when they summoned Chad Ruhwedel to sub for Carlo Colaiacovo prior to their 72nd contest. Ruhwedel played that night and was quickly returned to the Rochester Americans.

The Sabres almost ... Read the full article

Tim Murray won't let himself worry about Jimmy Vesey. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Tim Murray knows Jimmy Vesey could sign elsewhere

BUFFALO – The constant talk about whether former Harvard University star Jimmy Vesey will sign with the Sabres amazes general manager Tim Murray.

No one, of course, has more invested in Vesey than Murray, who traded a third-round pick for the Hobey Baker Award winner’s rights on June 20, a deal he has called a “gamble.”

If Vesey signs, Murray might have a first- or second-line winger to skate beside Jack Eichel or Ryan O’Reilly. ... Read the full article

Casey Nelson signs his jersey for a fan in April. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Casey Nelson to 2-year contract extension

BUFFALO – The Sabres have signed defenseman Casey Nelson, who joined the NHL straight from the NCAA in March, to a two-year contract extension, the team announced today.

The deal is worth $650,000 per season, according to Nelson, 23, would have become a restricted free agent Friday.

The Wisconsin native compiled four assists in seven NHL contests last season. The Sabres signed him as a free agent after he completed his junior season ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres' plans. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mark Pysyk surprised by trade from Sabres to Panthers

BUFFALO – Fresh off his first full NHL season, Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres’ long-term plans. With the defenseman skating regular minutes in 55 games, the team improved 27 points, moving from last overall to 23rd.

“I wasn’t really banking on anything happening,” Pysyk told the Times Herald by phone Sunday.

Then Saturday morning, as Pysyk slept, his phone began lighting up with calls and texts. Eventually, his fiancé informed ... Read the full article

Carlo Colaiacovo enjoys mentoring young players. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Carlo Colaiacovo hopes to return

BUFFALO – Carlo Colaiacovo’s goal when he signed a one-year contract in July was pretty straightforward. Following three seasons of sporadic duty, the veteran defenseman wanted to become an everyday player again with the Sabres.

“When I signed in Buffalo, I believed that opportunity was there for me, and obviously things change,” Colaiacovo said last week.

Things changed a lot on the blue line in a hurry.

The Sabres signed Cody Franson days before training ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly was named team MVP Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma feels fans’ passion everywhere

BUFFALO – In his first season as coach, Dan Bylsma has experienced so much excitement surrounding the Sabres he wonders how crazy it would feel if his team becomes a contender again.

The Sabres, of course, will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Still, to a rabid fan base yearning for postseason hockey, the progress the Sabres have made this season – they’ve improved 25 points with newcomers Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly and ... Read the full article

Jason Kasdorf turned pro last month. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf ready for NHL debut

BUFFALO – To Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf, who will make his NHL debut in tonight’s home finale against the Columbus Blue Jackets, experiencing some nerves before games feels good.

“I’m just kind of naturally that way,” an excited Kasdorf said this morning. “Even for college games, I’d get nervous for them. It’s just who I am.”

Kasdorf, who said he slept well last night, will likely feel some extra nerves tonight, when he becomes ... Read the full article