Jeff Skinner scored a career-high 40 goals in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill knows Jeff Skinner interested to see coach

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill understands 40-goal winger Jeff Skinner needed to know something important before making a huge decision.

“If you’re going to sign a long-term contract with an organization, you kind of want to know who the head coach is,” Botterill said Wednesday after announcing Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history.

Skinner, who turns 27 on Thursday, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Until ... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut played 33 games with the Sabres in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Lawrence Pilut undergoes shoulder surgery, out five to six months

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Lawrence Pilut underwent successful shoulder surgery and will be sidelined five to six months, the team announced this morning.

Just five weeks into the offseason, two Sabres defensemen – Zach Bogosian had his hip repaired last month – have had surgery and will likely miss training camp and the start of the regular season. Like Pilut, Bogosian needs five to six months to recover.

The Sabres’ dwindling depth, of course, will ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen led Ilves in points in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sign Finnish standout Arttu Ruotsalainen to entry-level contract

For the third straight spring, the Buffalo Sabres have signed a standout European player to fill a need.

This morning, the Sabres officially announced Finnish center Arttu Ruotsalainen has inked a three-year, entry-level contract.

The 5-foot-8, 179-pound Ruotsalainen, 21, spent the last four seasons playing at home in SM-liiga. In 2018-19, he scored 21 goals and a team-high 42 points in 59 games for Ilves. His goal total ranked ninth in the league.

The Sabres, ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner was the Sabres' first 40-goal scorer in 10 years. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner needs time to think about future

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Jeff Skinner needs time to decompress following a grueling 82-game season before he starts thinking about his next contract.

Sure, the 40-goal scorer said he loves playing in Buffalo. Despite the Sabres’ sorry season – coach Phil Housley was fired Sunday – he believes they’re heading in the right direction.

But Skinner, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, made sure his contract took a backseat during the season.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel blamed the players, not Phil Houlsey. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres surprised by Phil Housley’s firing, believe players at fault

BUFFALO – Just days before Phil Housley’s dismissal, captain Jack Eichel was adamant the Sabres’ woes should be pinned on the players, not the coach.

Eichel’s words, which he repeated this morning, couldn’t save Housley, who was fired Sunday after the Sabres’ sorry finish.

“It’s on us in the room,” Eichel said as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held end-of-season-meetings inside KeyBank Center. “We’re the product on the ice. It’s unfortunate that ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) battles in front of Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard on Thursday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ youngsters stand out in overtime loss to Red Wings

BUFFALO – Rookie Victor Olofsson heard Jack Eichel calling for the puck, so he quickly spun around along the right boards and adroitly fed the Sabres captain as a zoomed down the slot.

A second later, an uncovered Eichel beat Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, tying the game 15:42 into the third period Thursday.

“I was just trying to get it in there in the middle,” Olofsson said following his NHL debut, a 5-4 ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson was a seventh-round pick in 2014. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Victor Olofsson earns spot beside Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – By late October, as Sabres prospect Victor Olofsson closed a stellar month in which he scored five goals and 15 points, a recall to the NHL felt inevitable.

But instead of summoning Olofsson, 23, from the Rochester Americans right away, the Sabres left the slick Swedish winger in the AHL for almost six months.

The 5-foot-11, 181-pound Olofsson, meanwhile, kept scoring and acclimating to North American hockey, cementing his spot among the Sabres’ ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson has enjoyed a terrific season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Victor Olofsson thrilled to join Sabres: ‘I’m good enough to play up here’

BUFFALO – Rasmus Dahlin has never seen a shot as lethal as the one Sabres newcomer Victor Olofsson possesses.

“He’s probably got the best shot I’ve ever seen in my whole life,” the defenseman said of Olofsson, who will make his NHL debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s unbelievable.”

Dahlin, of course, knows Olofsson well. The rookies spent last season together starring at home in Sweden for Frolunda HC. Their time as teammates ... Read the full article

Lawrence Pilut played 25 games with the Sabres earlier this season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres recall Lawrence Pilut from Amerks

The Buffalo Sabres recalled rookie defenseman Lawrence Pilut, who played 25 NHL games earlier this season, from the Rochester Americans this afternoon.

Pilut, 23, compiled one goal, six points and a minus-3 rating in nearly three months with the Sabres.

Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian is missing from today’s practice, according to reports from Newark. Defenseman Matt Hunwick (upper body) is also injured.

Pilut has been dynamic at times in his first American Hockey League ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin never saw a live NHL game until last year. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Swedish Sabres excited about playing games in Stockholm

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin grew up far away from the NHL in Trollhattan, Sweden, a city of 46,000 about a three- or four-hour car ride from Stockholm.

“Most of my friends have never seen an NHL game before,” the rookie said Thursday inside KeyBank Center.

So the thought of playing two regular-season games in front of his family and friends next season had Dahlin smiling Thursday. The Sabres will face the Tampa Bay ... Read the full article