Rasmus Ristolainen compiled an NHL-worst minus-41 rating last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres want to put Rasmus Ristolainen in ‘positions to have success’

BUFFALO – General manager Jason Botterill said he wasn’t surprised or disappointed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen indicated in a Finnish interview last week he has asked the Sabres to be traded.

“There’s always stories coming out when players go back and … there’s stories from other organizations coming out of Finland and stuff, too,” Botterill said during Saturday’s Sabres Fan Fest inside KeyBank Center, an event that celebrated the team’s 50th anniversary season. “So those are ... Read the full article

Chris Taylor plans to soak up knowledge from the Sabres' new coaching staff. ©2019, Hickling Images

Chris Taylor happy with Amerks, likes Sabres’ hire of Ralph Krueger

BUFFALO – To many observers, Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor possesses the talent to run an NHL bench someday.

Not only have the Amerks enjoyed two successful seasons under the affable Taylor, players seem to love playing for him.

Not surprisingly, Taylor’s name came up during the Sabres’ search for Phil Housley’s replacement. Taylor, course, has close ties to general manager Jason Botterill, his friend and former teammate.... Read the full article

Sean Malone played only 38 games last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres notes: Sean Malone signs AHL contract with Amerks

BUFFALO – Center Sean Malone’s 2018-19 season started ominously. After some impressive performances early in his second NHL training camp, the West Seneca native injured his knee in the Sabres’ preseason opener.

So instead of competing for a spot on the big club, Malone, 24, didn’t play his first game until Nov. 7 with the Rochester Americans.

Injuries limited Malone to only 38 appearances during a frustrating campaign. The Harvard product never seemed to ... Read the full article

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