Jack Eichel believes players can get things off their chest. ©2018, Hickling Images

Accountability, communication helping Sabres as new season opens

BUFFALO – The open communication among the Sabres and the accountability it has bred is new and welcome.

In the recent past, the team’s problems often festered or worsened over time. Players clearly felt uncomfortable discussing any issues.

Then following last season’s dreadful 31st-place finish, coach Phil Housley challenged the Sabres. He wanted self-reflection. He wanted them to change before the new season, which started this morning with veterans reporting for their training camp physicals.... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo hopes youngsters push the Sabres' veterans. ©2018, Hickling Images

Kyle Okposo sees changes in Sabres

BUFFALO – Even during informal late-summer skates, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo said he kept feeling it.

“I think there’s a different attitude around here,” said Okposo, whose Sabres open training camp and a new season this morning when veterans report for their physicals.

The change started weeks ago, when rookies began preparing for the Prospects Challenge tournament. By the time Okposo and other established players arrived in Buffalo last month, the youngsters had been skating ... Read the full article

Myles Powell scores a goal in Monday's 10-2 win against Pittsburgh. ©2018, Hickling Images

R.I.T. grad Myles Powell grateful for time with Sabres

BUFFALO – Part of the fun of rookie camps can often be watching the variety of youngsters participating.

The Sabres had four first-round picks, including this year’s No. 1 overall selection, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, on their Prospects Challenge roster. They also had seven undrafted players, including center Myles Powell, an R.I.T. product.

That meant prospects from opposite ends of the spectrum could connect to make memorable moments.... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart is the Sabres' only unsigned restricted free agent. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres GM Jason Botterill optimistic about signing Sam Reinhart

BUFFALO – Three days before veterans must report for their training camp physicals, the official start of the new season, Sabres winger Sam Reinhart is still unsigned.

But Reinhart, 22, is in town skating informally with his teammates at HarborCenter. To Sabres general manager Jason Botterill, the restricted free agent’s presence is a positive sign.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt is one Sabres rookie who could contribute this season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres could have special rookie class

BUFFALO – Right away, the rookie’s skill set – the heavy shot, soft hands and slick speed – wowed Sabres winger Kyle Okposo.

To Okposo, a 10-year NHL veteran, the newcomer “seems to have all the tools” to succeed at hockey’s highest level.

“His release is, I mean, he scored a few goals just kind of in informal skates that just kind of make your eyes open, for sure,” Okposo said Wednesday following a ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has scored 30 goals three times. ©2018, Hickling Images

Jeff Skinner acquisition shows Sabres believe they can win now

Before Thursday’s acquisition of slick winger Jeff Skinner, so many of the Buffalo Sabres’ trades throughout their seemingly endless rebuild focused on the future. Deals would often net them prospects or draft picks, a sign winning wasn’t imminent.

But Sabres general manager Jason Botterill made a different swap to nab the three-time 30-goal scorer from the Carolina Hurricanes. For one of the few times in recent years, the Sabres dealt futures for a proven commodity.... Read the full article

C.J. Smith compiled 17 goals and 44 points last season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres re-sign C.J. Smith; Sam Reinhart last unsigned RFA

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed forward C.J. Smith, one of the AHL’s top rookies last season, to a one-year, two-way deal, the team announced today.

The contract is worth $874,125 at the NHL level.

Winger Sam Reinhart is now the Sabres’ only unsigned restricted free agent.... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin sports his new No. 26 jersey Monday. ©2018, Hickling Images

Excitement over NHL arrival hasn’t waned for Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin

BUFFALO – On Saturday, a day after the Sabres drafted Rasmus Dahlin, the first overall pick was still walking around American Airlines Center proudly wearing his Blue and Gold jersey.

Most first-round selections don’t show up for the later rounds of the NHL Draft. But the day in Dallas provided the slick defenseman another opportunity to experience what he said “was my best time in my life.”

“To be able to be a part of ... Read the full article

Victor Antipin played 47 games with the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Victor Antipin let go after one season

BUFFALO – The Sabres did not tender a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Victor Antipin by Monday’s deadline, making the Russian defenseman a free agent.

Antipin, 25, signed a one-year contract last year following a strong season in the KHL. In 47 games as a rookie in 2017-18, Antipin compiled 10 assists.

“We were really impressed with him,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said Monday inside KeyBank Center. “I know things didn’t go maybe ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin (left) and Jason Botterill hold up the Swede's new jersey today. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin will wear No. 26

BUFFALO – In the Sabres’ 48-year existence, players of all talents wore No. 26 before the team awarded the digits to defenseman Rasmus Dahlin today.

Two-time 40-goal scorer Thomas Vanek sported it. So did Randy Wyrozub, one of the franchise’s first players. The Sabres issued the number 20 times before Dahlin, according to hockey-reference.com.... Read the full article