Sam Reinhart welcomed Dylan Cozens to the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Jason Botterill believes Sabres’ young talent terrific selling point

VANCOUVER – Shortly before the Sabres’ higher-ups traveled to the NHL Draft, Sam Reinhart told Jason Botterill he wanted join them during their stay in his hometown.

So one night, Reinhart met the general manager, coach Ralph Krueger and Terry and Kim Pegula for dinner.

Then on Friday, Reinhart, a winger the Sabres selected second overall in 2014, warmly greeted center Dylan Cozens after the team’s top pick left the draft floor inside Rogers Arena.... Read the full article

Jason Botterill thinks Rasmus Ristolainen can keep developing. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres GM Jason Botterill knows teams will ask about Rasmus Ristolainen

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

Jason Botterill will look at options for his first-round picks. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres will likely stay with seventh overall pick

VANCOUVER – Jason Botterill, of course, will see if the Buffalo Sabres can move up from the seventh spot in the first round of tonight’s NHL Draft.

“You always put inquiries into possibly moving up and what’s there,” the general manager said this morning inside Trump International Hotel.

Still, the Sabres will likely keep their first pick. The deep first round makes Botterill “very, very comfortable” they can grab a good prospect early.

“When we ... Read the full article

Los Angeles' Jeff Carter pursues Rasmus Ristolainen last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rasmus Ristolainen might be Sabres’ biggest trade chip

VANCOUVER – Rasmus Ristolainen has certainly showcased flashes of brilliance as the Buffalo Sabres’ workhorse defenseman.

Remember when he torched superstar Brent Burns in November to extend the Sabres’ winning streak to 10 games? What about the time he took over a game in 2015-16 against the Calgary Flames, scoring a hat trick in just a 12-minute span?

Three years ago, the Finn appeared to be taking his first steps into stardom. The Sabres, ... Read the full article

Jack Hughes is the presumptive first overall pick. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres will have strong options early at NHL Draft

VANCOUVER – The first two picks of tonight’s NHL Draft have been set for months. Unless something wild transpires inside Rogers Arena, the New Jersey Devils will select Jack Hughes first overall and the New York Rangers will grab Kaapo Kakko second.

The 2019 draft really begins with the third pick, when the Chicago Blackhawks go on the clock.

Drafts, of course, are always unpredictable. Youngsters pegged as surefire high picks inevitably fall.

But the ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson unleashes a shot Friday. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Tage Thompson thriving with Amerks

ROCHESTER – The numbers jump out at you. Through nine AHL appearances, Buffalo Sabres prospect Tage Thompson has already compiled seven goals and 10 points.

Sure, it’s a small sample size. But Thompson, 21, has often been a dynamic presence for the Americans since the Sabres sent him down March 28.

“We’re looking for him to be a big-time player for us,” Amerks coach Chris Taylor said following Saturday’s practice at Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex ... Read the full article

Phil Housley began his Hall of Fame playing career with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ second-half regression cost Phil Housley his job

BUFFALO – Even as the Sabres stumbled and lost their grip on a playoff spot early in the winter, it seemed like coach Phil Housley would return next season unless the team totally fell apart down the stretch.

Well, the Sabres imploded, losing 16 of 17 games before winning their final two outings. That marked the first time they won back-to-back games since Dec. 11 and 13.

On Sunday, a day after the Sabres finished ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton makes a shootout stop on St. Louis' Ryan O'Reilly to secure Sunday afternoon's win. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres end losing streak, get building roaring again

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Kyle Okposo heard the crowd roaring and wanted in on the action.

For a 27-second stretch late in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s entertaining 4-3 shootout win, the Sabres started thumping every opponent in sight.

The normally docile fans inside KeyBank Center grew louder and louder with each hit.

So Okposo wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to hit St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly spent three seasons with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Ryan O’Reilly returns to Buffalo thriving with Blues

BUFFALO – St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly hasn’t experienced a season like this in five years, since he played for the Colorado Avalanche.

For the first time since 2013-14, O’Reilly, 28, has a legitimate chance to reach the playoffs.

Simply contending for a spot has helped rejuvenate O’Reilly, who was beaten down by the losing he endured in Buffalo so much he acknowledged following last season it sapped some of his love for hockey.... Read the full article

Jason Pominville also sat out Jan. 30. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Jason Pominville to be healthy scratch against Blues

BUFFALO – The Sabres cleared one huge hurdle in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes by, uh, scoring a goal for the first time in more than three games.

“It certainly was a relief,” coach Phil Housley said of the Sabres ending their drought at 199:58. “I really like the way we started, and just taking a look at the game after the fact, I really liked the way we played. We had a ... Read the full article