Best wishes to RJ

Archive:
Ott

Zemgus Girgensons spent all last season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Some experts are already predicting the Sabres, a team three months removed from the worst NHL season in recent memory, will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in a few years.

Why? Their prospect pool might be the deepest in hockey.

Seven first-round picks are participating in the team’s development camp this week. Seven of the 41 prospects played in the NHL last season, including center Zemgus Girgensons, who spent the entire campaign with the Sabres.

Fans can get their first glimpses …

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Tim Murray (left) wants to sign veterans to support youngsters like Sam Reinhart. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have a pretty simple free agency plan. The rebuilding club wants to add some respected veterans, preferably skilled ones who can mentor the team’s youngsters and are willing to take a short term, perhaps just a year or two.

Yes, the Sabres need to add salary badly when the market opens at noon today. After all, they’re a stunning $20,580,834 under the floor. But reaching that mark, a touchy subject for general manager Tim Murray, isn’t the …

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The Sabres named new captains before last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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On Oct. 1, the Buffalo Sabres unveiled their new leadership crew, co-captains Steve Ott and Thomas Vanek and alternate Christian Ehrhoff.

Nine months later, all three are gone.

Vanek was dealt later that month. Ott went in February. Ehrhoff was bought out Sunday.

Looking for a picture that can capture the Sabres’ radical transformation? Look above.

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Florida selected Aaron Ekblad No. 1. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – The Buffalo Sabres’ chances of winning the Connor McDavid sweepstakes could be taking a small hit.

General manager Tim Murray said Friday the NHL will likely alter its draft lottery next year.

What’s going to happen?

Murray said the odds of the league’s worst team getting the No. 1 pick will drop from 25 percent to about 19 or 20 percent. The tradeoff? The 30th team can’t fall past the No. 2 spot.

The Sabres, despite a league-low 52 points last season, …

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Tim Murray knows the Sabres will be in contention for a lottery pick again. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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PHILADELPHIA – Some notes from Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray’s chat with the media today prior tonight’s NHL Entry Draft:

– Murray said changes are probably coming to the NHL Draft Lottery next year, which could hurt the Sabres greatly. The NHL Board of Governors discussed the alterations Thursday.

The odds of the league’s worst team getting the No. 1 pick will drop from 25 percent to about 19 or 20 percent, Murray said. The tradeoff? The 30th team can’t fall …

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Thomas Vanek played 47 games with the New York Islanders before getting traded to Montreal. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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The New York Islanders will be keeping the No. 5 pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft and giving the Buffalo Sabres their first-round selection next year to complete the Thomas Vanek trade, the club announced today.

The Isles had until June 1 to decide.

There had been some speculation the Isles would want to have their 2015 pick for a chance at Connor McDavid, arguably the biggest prospect since Sidney Crosby.

The Sabres now have three 2015 first-round picks. In addition to their …

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Ryan Miller played 25 total games with St. Louis. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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The conditional draft pick the Buffalo Sabres received from the St. Louis Blues in the blockbuster Ryan Miller-Steve Ott trade won’t become this year’s first-rounder.

The Blues signed backup goalie Brian Elliott to a three-year extension today, effectively ending Miller’s short run with the club.

The Sabres will likely receive a 2016 third-round selection now.

Clearly, the Blues, a team built to win the Stanley Cup this season, weren’t going to re-sign Miller after their disappointing first-round exit. But today’s news more or …

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Ryan Miller has played 14 games with St. Louis. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Sorry, Buffalo fans. Thirty-four days after the blockbuster trade between the Sabres and Blues, star goalie Ryan Miller has earned a well-deserved break tonight against his old club in St. Louis.

Backup Brian Elliott will replace Miller.

Of course, the Blues also have former captain Steve Ott, another key piece of the deal. Expect the agitating winger, who didn’t practice Wednesday, to have some fun and try to get under the Sabres’ skin.

“I hope none of the boys start trying to wake …

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Ryan Miller has been facing fewer shots in St. Louis. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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TORONTO – Nights like Tuesday are acceptable now. Former Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller wasn’t dynamic in the St. Louis Blues’ 5-3 victory against the Maple Leafs. He looked average, even a bit shaky at times while making only 22 saves.

But Miller doesn’t have to be perfect these days. The 33-year-old’s tending goal for the NHL’s best team, not its worst.

Miller is 8-2-1 since the blockbuster Feb. 28 deal sent the franchise goalie and captain Steve Ott to the powerhouse …

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Steve Ott has won 10 of the 13 games he's played with St. Louis. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

TORONTO – Steve Ott is no longer the guy, just one piece of arguably the NHL’s deepest club, the powerhouse St. Louis Blues. Of course, the popular former Buffalo Sabres captain knew he was joining special team.

But how good is St. Louis?

Tuesday’s 5-3 win against Maple Leafs was the Blues’ 10th victory in 13 games since acquiring Ott and franchise goalie Ryan Miller on Feb. 28.

Ott won only 17 of the 59 games he played with the rebuilding Sabres, including …

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