Phil Housley briefly stopped practice. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Ryan O’Reilly not thinking about captaincy

BUFFALO – Center Ryan O’Reilly, the Sabres’ most versatile presence on the ice and their most accountable voice off it, certainly makes a fine candidate for the Sabres’ vacant captaincy.

Coach Phil Housley said Thursday he’s in no hurry to name a captain, meaning the Sabres might not have someone wearing the ‘C’ permanently for a few weeks or even later.... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly (90) has been an alternate captain. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Ryan O’Reilly hasn’t thought about Sabres’ captaincy

BUFFALO – Center Ryan O’Reilly, the Sabres’ most versatile presence on the ice and their most accountable voice off it, certainly makes a fine candidate for the Sabres’ vacant captaincy.

Coach Phil Housley said Thursday he’s in no hurry to name a captain, meaning the Sabres might not have someone wearing the ‘C’ permanently for a few weeks or even later.... Read the full article

Jason Botterill wants youngsters to push for spots. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Jason Botterill expects prospects to battle for roster spots

BUFFALO – Right now, just one day before the Sabres open training camp, veterans and established youngsters seemingly take up every roster spot for the upcoming season.

Counting returning regulars and offseason additions, the Sabres have 13 forwards and seven defensemen, more than a full lineup.

So what about the prospects? Could some force themselves onto the roster?... Read the full article

Hudson Fasching missed three months last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Hudson Fasching ready for fresh start

BUFFALO – In a way, Sabres winger Hudson Fasching is grateful for the groin injury he suffered early last season. No, the prospect isn’t happy a three-month absence derailed his promising rookie campaign.

But Fasching, 22, believes handling his first significant injury toughened him up.

“It was a learning year, learning experience,” Fasching said Friday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils in the opener of the Prospects Challenge rookie ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner signed a one-year contract in July. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner not out to prove himself

BUFFALO – Robin Lehner’s agents kept telling him to take a one-year contract. After all, the Sabres goalie could parlay another strong season into a lucrative long-term deal.

But fresh off a campaign in which Lehner established himself as the Sabres’ starter and posted the NHL’s 10th-highest save percentage, he wanted a long contract right away.... 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

Rasmus Asplund was a second-round pick in 2016. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Report: Sabres prospect Rasmus Asplund to stay in Sweden next season

Rasmus Asplund, perhaps the Buffalo Sabres’ top center prospect, will play in Sweden again next season.

The Sabres, who recently hired general manager Jason Botterill and still need to find a coach, want contract flexibility, Asplund, 19, told Värmlands Folkblad, a Swedish news service.

So the 33rd overall pick in 2016 will play a fourth pro season with Färjestad BK, a team in the Swedish Hockey League.... Read the full article

Craig Button believes the Sabres have plenty of assets. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Analyst: Sabres’ next GM entering ‘promising’ gig

BUFFALO – Despite inheriting a last-place club, the Sabres’ next general manager will also be entering a “promising” job, said former NHL GM Craig Button.

Why? The Sabres already possess two cornerstones at critical positions.

“When you start with (center) Jack Eichel and you’ve got a (defenseman like) Rasmus Ristolainen, you’ve got the framework for something to really move significantly ahead with,” said Button, the Calgary Flames’ GM for three years in the early ... Read the full article

The Sabres could draft a defenseman like Cale Makar this year. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres will pick 8th in NHL Draft; Devils win lottery

The Buffalo Sabres fell two spots in Saturday’s NHL Draft Lottery and will pick eighth overall June 23 in Chicago.

The Sabres, thanks to finishing 26th overall, had the sixth-highest odds, 7.6 percent, for the No. 1 pick. They couldn’t move back more than three slots.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel was the Sabres' leading scorer this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Disappointing season leaves Sabres’ Jack Eichel seething

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel looked like he would’ve rather been anywhere else. The Sabres center was restless throughout his six-minute chat with the media Monday, mostly giving terse statements and looking around as he stood at a podium.

Eichel, 20, isn’t handling the Sabres’ last-place finish in the Atlantic Division – they also ended 2016-17 an embarrassing 15th in the 16-team Eastern Conference – very well.

“It’s tough,” a seething Eichel said inside KeyBank Center ... Read the full article