The Buffalo Sabres on Thursday locked up two of their three restricted free agents, re-signing center Casey Mittelstadt and defenseman Henri Jokiharju to identical three-year, $7.5 million contracts.
Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is now the Sabres’ only restricted free agent. Training camp is scheduled to begin later this month.
The Mittelstadt and Jokiharju deals, which carry $2.5 million salary cap hits, could look like bargains in the near future.
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Last season, his first in Buffalo, defenseman Henri Jokiharju morphed into the Sabres’ biggest surprise, showcasing a steady style that earned him coach Ralph Krueger’s trust.
So naturally, Jokiharju, 21, wants to advance his game this year and develop his offensive side.
“It’s part of the development for a young defenseman to come in and be very conservative and then try to build a more attacking, offensive game on top of that,” Krueger said on ... Read the full article
For the fourth time in the last eight years, the Buffalo Sabres will have the eighth overall pick in the NHL Draft.
The Sabres had just a 6.5% chance for the top pick, the seventh-highest odds in tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery.
So who won the lottery and the right to select ultra-talent winger Alexis Lafreniere? Well, no one did.
A placeholder was chosen in the first spot, meaning another draw will take place at ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Ralph Krueger doesn’t pay much attention to his players’ ages. Whether you’re a teenager and or a veteran, the Sabres coach said he treats everyone the same way.
In turn, Krueger expects a rookie to have the same habits as, say, a 35-year-old.
“So for younger players, that could sometimes put pressure on them,” Krueger said prior to Friday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers inside KeyBank Center. “For older players, it ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The good news for the Sabres is defenseman Brandon Montour’s hand injury probably won’t sideline him too long.
While Montour will miss the rest of the preseason, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said he should be ready “pretty soon” after the season opener Oct. 3.
The Sabres, who began training camp down three defensemen, could ill afford to lose another one, especially a point-producer capable of eating up minutes.
Then Montour, 25, left Tuesday’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knew of Henri Jokiharju’s talents before he watched the defenseman up close during Team Finland’s run to a gold medal at the World Championship in the spring.
So even if Botterill hadn’t run Team Canada’s entry in Slovakia, the Sabres still might’ve dished winger Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Jokiharju on July 9.
“It certainly helps things out to see a player play on ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In January, defenseman Henri Jokiharju earned a gold medal at the World Junior Championship on a Finnish squad that featured Sabres prospects Oskari Laaksonen and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
Jokiharju grew up with Laaksonen, another defenseman, in Tampere, and is one of his best friends. Jokiharju and Luukkonen, a youngster tabbed as Buffalo’s goalie of the future, played together with Team Finland at tournaments as teenagers.
After World Juniors, Jokiharju, 20, probably figured he ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Following another underwhelming season, it felt like only a matter of time before the Sabres cut their losses and traded winger Alexander Nylander.
Through three years as a pro, Nylander, the eighth overall pick by the Sabres’ old regime in 2016, has mostly been a bust.
Sure, the Swede has occasionally showcased his slick skills. Still, he hasn’t consistently displayed the tenacity to match them.
Nylander, 21, couldn’t develop into a dominant ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres traded winger Alexander Nylander to the Chicago Blackhawks today for defenseman Henri Jokiharju, a swap of former first-round picks.
The deal is hardly surprising. Following another underwhelming season in which he battled injuries, Nylander’s days in the organization seemed numbered.
The Swede, the eighth overall pick by the team’s old regime in 2016, never showcased the tenacity to match his array of talents.... Read the full article
VANCOUVER – Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knows plenty of teams would like to pry away a 6-foot-4 defenseman capable of gobbling up minutes and producing points like Rasmus Ristolainen.
“We understand there’s going to be inquiries about him,” Botterill said Friday morning, hours before the NHL Draft inside Rogers Arena. “We’re open as an organization to continuing to try to find ways to improve our team. But we realize and we’re very ... Read the full article