Chad Johnson spent last season in Calgary. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres face challenges adding talent in free agency

BUFFALO – For a team fresh off a last-place finish, the Sabres have a high number of contracts, including a few bloated ones, in place for next season.

Counting restricted free agents expected to be back, the Sabres already have about 19 players who could be regulars in 2017-18. Veterans Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges and Matt Moulson combine for more than $14 million of salary cap space.

Bad teams usually don’t approach the cap, but ... Read the full article

William Carrier was one of the Sabres' biggest surprises last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres leave big salaries unprotected for expansion draft

BUFFALO – As expected, the Sabres have left underachieving, high-priced veterans Zach Bogosian and Matt Moulson unprotected for Wednesday’s NHL Expansion Draft.

But they also left winger William Carrier, perhaps the Sabres’ biggest surprise as a rookie last season, unprotected for the Vegas Golden Knights, according to a list the league released this morning. Could that move be a side deal general manager Jason Botterill worked out with counterpart George McPhee to lay off ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo holds flowers for captain Brian Gionta's 1,000th game ceremony March 27, his final appearance last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Kyle Okposo ‘looking great,’ will be ready for training camp

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Kyle Okposo, who was reportedly hospitalized late last season in the neuro surgical intensive care unit at Buffalo General hospital, will be ready for training camp, general manager Jason Botterill said.

“Everything’s looking great for Kyle,” Botterill said Thursday during an introductory news conference for coach Phil Housley inside KeyBank Center. “Physically he looks great, mentally he looks great.”... Read the full article

The Sabres can negotiate a new contract with Jack Eichel on July 1. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want to pursue contract extension for Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – When Tim Murray spoke to Jack Eichel on Wednesday, the general manager told his young star the Sabres would improve after a last-place finish.

“I made the promise to him that I would do the best that I could to make the team around him better and that we would be a longtime playoff team,” Murray said of his exit meeting with Eichel.

Eichel, 20, hasn’t handled the Sabres’ struggles well. The center ... Read the full article

Tim Murray talks this afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Tim Murray apologizes for Sabres’ poor season

BUFFALO – For now, after the Sabres’ disappointing last-place finish, Dan Bylsma is still coach, general manager Tim Murray said.

“He’s my coach today, I’m the general manager today,” Murray said this afternoon during his end-of-season news conference inside KeyBank Center. “There’s a review top to bottom. I have to meet with ownership next week in Florida. I’m sure I’ll be reviewed, I’m sure I’m being reviewed right now, as I should be.”

What does ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson played 36 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Johan Larsson’s absence hurt Sabres

BUFFALO – When center Johan Larsson suffered two season-ending dislocations New Year’s Eve, the Sabres quietly experienced a critical blow to their playoff hopes.

While the absences of some higher-profile forwards – Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo, for example – garnered more attention, the Sabres struggled to replace Larsson’s tenacious two-way game.

Without Larsson, who dislocated his elbow and wrist, the Sabres became a “different team,” said Marcus Foligno, the Swede’s regular winger on ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo only played two games after March 2. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres missed Kyle Okposo’s leadership

BUFFALO – How valuable is Kyle Okposo to the Sabres? They went 4-11-1 without the winger in his first season here. After a mysterious illness sidelined him late, they closed the disappointing campaign 1-5.

Okposo was discharged from the Neuro Surgical ICU at Buffalo General Hospital on Friday, according to WIVB.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma had no update on Okposo, 28, on Monday.

On the ice, Okposo compiled 19 goals and 45 points in ... 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

Jack Eichel wasn't in a talkative mood today. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Coach Dan Bylsma ‘going forward’ with Sabres after disappointing season

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel looked like he would’ve rather been anywhere else. The Sabres center was fidgety throughout his six-minute chat with the media this afternoon, mostly giving short answers.

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 as the Sabres held end-of-season meetings. “You’re not ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo was the Sabres' only NHL All-Star this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Report: Sabres’ Kyle Okposo discharged from hospital

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Kyle Okposo has been discharged from Buffalo General Hospital, according to WIVB’s Tom Martin.

Okposo, 28, was hospitalized in the Neuro Surgical ICU, according to multiple reports.

The Sabres have said little about the likable Okposo, their NHL All-Star this season, only releasing a statement late Wednesday saying he was under the care of their doctors and they would have no further comment.... Read the full article