Vladimir Sobotka endured a rough season in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Vladimir Sobotka shaking off poor season, earning respect

BUFFALO – In the first period Monday afternoon, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger tapped winger Vladimir Sobotka for two defensive-zone draws.

“He went right out there and cleanly won them and took us out of our end,” Krueger said following the Sabres’ 4-0 victory over the Dallas Stars inside KeyBank Center.

Then 4:20 into the third period, Sobotka’s nifty pass past a sliding defender created linemate Jeff Skinner’s goal.

The Czech’s first point this season put ... Read the full article

Counting the playoffs, Tage Thompson played 11 games with Rochester last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Tage Thompson could dominate AHL with Amerks

BUFFALO – During his 11-game run in Rochester late last season, Sabres prospect Tage Thompson often looked dominant, utilizing his big body and talents to score eight goals.

Thompson, 21, probably should’ve spent most of the campaign with the Americans. But the Sabres, perhaps to show they had something from the Ryan O’Reilly trade, kept the 6-foot-6 winger in the NHL.

So instead of thriving in the AHL, Thompson stayed in Buffalo until late March, ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt scored 12 goals as a rookie. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres’ Casey Mittelstadt believes he can thrive in Ralph Krueger’s system

BUFFALO – For seven months last season, Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt lived the hectic NHL life. The rookie practiced almost daily, played 77 games and logged thousands of air miles traveling across North America.

Mittelstadt, 20, had never experienced anything like it.

Then in the second week of April, everything stopped. When the season ended, Mittelstadt quickly became bored.

“You go from 100 mph to literally zero,” Mittelstadt said prior to Wednesday’s 4-3 preseason overtime ... Read the full article

Patrik Berglund played 23 games with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Former Sabre Patrik Berglund signs contract in native Sweden

Patrik Berglund, whose contract was terminated by the Buffalo Sabres after he suddenly left the team in December, will play hockey again this upcoming season.

The forward has signed a one-year deal with Djurgårdens in Stockholm, the Swedish Hockey League team announced today.

Berglund’s decision to quit the Sabres stunned the hockey world.... Read the full article

Matt Duchene will land a huge contract in free agency. ©2019, Hickling Images

Trades, not free agents, likely Sabres’ best option for improving roster

BUFFALO – The Sabres must examine every option to improve their weak roster, so, yes, general manager Jason Botterill acknowledged, they’ve discussed some of the top free agents on the market.

It’s no secret center Matt Duchene would fill a glaring need as the No. 2 pivot behind Jack Eichel.

For a few years, even as the Sabres kept struggling, their greatest strength was up the middle.

Most teams are lucky to have one top ... Read the full article

Colin Miller gives the Sabres five right-handed defensemen. ©2019, Hickling Images

Colin Miller’s acquisition could be start of busy summer for Sabres

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ acquisition of defenseman Colin Miller from the Vegas Golden Knights for two draft picks Friday night will only fuel speculation more moves are coming soon.

Right-shot defenseman are coveted by NHL teams. The Sabres now possess five of them, a high number they must trim to create more balance on their defense pairs.

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, of course, is a righty. After six seasons of losing in Buffalo, a ... Read the full article

The Sabres open their home schedule Oct. 5 against Taylor Hall and New Jersey. ©2019, Hickling Images

2019-20 Sabres schedule features early trip to Sweden, long winter break

BUFFALO – A two-game early-November series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Sweden, a Dec. 10 visit from Ryan O’Reilly and the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues and a nine-day January break are among the highlights of the 2019-20 Buffalo Sabres schedule the NHL released today.

The Sabres open their 50th anniversary season Oct. 3 in Pittsburgh against superstar Sidney Crosby’s Penguins before returning for their home opener Oct. 5 versus former Hart Trophy ... Read the full article

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