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Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres' plans. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Fresh off his first full NHL season, Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres’ long-term plans. With the defenseman skating regular minutes in 55 games, the team improved 27 points, moving from last overall to 23rd.

“I wasn’t really banking on anything happening,” Pysyk told the Times Herald by phone Sunday.

Then Saturday morning, as Pysyk slept, his phone began lighting up with calls and texts. Eventually, his fiancé informed him the Sabres had just traded him to the …

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Dmitri Kulikov fills a big need for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – In acquiring Dmitri Kulikov from the Florida Panthers on Saturday morning, the Sabres added the versatile, left-handed defenseman they coveted and filled perhaps their biggest need.

“We have a need for a left-shot D,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said after the NHL Draft ended.

There are, of course, other holes, including up front, where the Sabres must add more scoring, either through trades or free agency.

“The best that are available at any position I’m going to listen to,” Murray …

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Rasmus Ristolainen has been a strong pick for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – To thrive in the modern NHL, teams must build through the draft. It’s that simple. The days of loading up with veteran players through free agency or trades are long gone. The league belongs to the 20-somethings now, and if teams draft poorly, they’re doomed.

How good are the Sabres at drafting? Judge for yourself below. Since drafts usually don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at their selections from 2008-13. Eighteen of Buffalo’s 47 …

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Randy Cunneyworth was Montreal's interim coach for 50 games in 2011-12. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – As the summer dragged on and the Rochester Americans’ coaching job remained open, one name kept popping up in rumors: Randy Cunneyworth, who had coached the Sabres’ AHL affiliate for eight seasons before moving up to the NHL.

Cunneyworth appeared to be the logical choice. The 54-year-old, a noted talent developer, was already a special assistant and a player development coach with the Amerks. He’s familiar with Buffalo’s prospects and the organization.

Sure enough, the Sabres general manager Tim Murray …

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Cody Hodgson scored six goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s Sabres career is over.

The team put the struggling winger on unconditional waivers Monday, meaning the final four seasons of his six-year, $25.5 million contract will be bought out for one-third the remaining value since he’s under 26 years old.

The Sabres owe him $6.333 million over the next eight years, money that will count against the salary cap until 2022-23, according to generalfanager.com. They must absorb a $1,041,666 hit next season. The number never rises above $791,666 …

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Cody Hodgson struggled throughout 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s Sabres career is over.

The team put the struggling winger on unconditional waivers today, meaning the final four seasons of his six-year, $25.5 million contract will be bought out for one-third the remaining value.

The 25-year-old endured perhaps the worst year of any NHL forward in 2014-15, mustering only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, a stunning 14-goal, 31-point drop in six more appearances.

Hodgson scored one goal in a 47-game stretch from Oct. 28 to Feb. …

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Dave Barr played 614 NHL games before his coaching career. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – Dan Bylsma let it slip. Instead of waiting for the press release to come out, the new Sabres coach announced the first two assistants to his staff – veteran NHL coach Terry Murray and Dave Barr – during a news conference Thursday.

“We didn’t save the release for this afternoon,” Bylsma joked inside the First Niagara Center.

Former Sabres coaches Ted Nolan and Ron Rolston had trouble finding assistants the last two years and filled out their staffs in August. …

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John Wroblewski spent two seasons in Rochester. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have fired Rochester Americans assistant coach John Wroblewski, another holdover from the team’s old regime.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle first reported the news. Wroblewski later confirmed it in a tweet, writing, “Words won’t explain how much I enjoy the city of Rochester! However, I’m already excited for my next professional challenge, wherever it is!”

Sabres general manager Tim Murray fired Amerks head coach Chadd Cassidy on Friday. Both Cassidy and Wroblewski were hires during the Darcy Regier …

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Chadd Cassidy joined the Sabres organization in 2011. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – The Sabres fired Rochester Americans coach Chadd Cassidy today, ending his four-year run with the organization, the last two of which he spent leading the AHL club.

Since Cassidy was a holdover from the Darcy Regier regime, it was expected Sabres general manager Tim Murray would let the 41-year-old go. Cassidy’s contract expires this summer. Murray has been bringing in his own men. He fired Ted Nolan as Sabres coach earlier this month.

“I’d like to thank Chadd for all …

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Cody Hodgson scored only six goals in 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Nothing could ignite Sabres enigma Cody Hodgson. Not moving from wing to center and back. Not switching lines. Not getting scratched.

In the worst season by a Sabres forward not named Ville Leino in recent memory, Hodgson mustered only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, a stunning 14-goal, 31-point drop in six more appearances.

Hodgson scored one goal in a 47-game stretch from Oct. 28 to Feb. 22. He endured goal droughts of 27 and 19 games and …

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