Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl is a lethal scorer. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Leon Draisaitl as dynamic as Connor McDavid; Sabres to make one change

BUFFALO – Forget about Connor McDavid for a moment. The Edmonton Oilers have a player with more points than the superstar. Through 12 games, Leon Draisaitl has amassed a whopping 12 goals and 26 points, both NHL highs.

So far, McDavid, 24, has scored nine goals and 24 points.

Draisaitl, of course, is usually overshadowed by McDavid, a center widely considered hockey’s most dynamic talent.

But coach Don Granato, whose Sabres face the Oilers tonight ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel hasn’t played since March 9. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jack Eichel trade shows Kevyn Adams refuses to compromise Sabres’ future

Kevyn Adams repeated it over and over – eight times in total while discussing Thursday’s blockbuster Jack Eichel trade. The general manager refuses to compromise if it will interfere with the plan he has laid out to rebuild the Buffalo Sabres.

Adams said he would only deal Eichel, the injured ex-captain, if someone met the Sabres’ asking price. So he held his greatest asset until an offering to the team’s liking materialized.

It took about ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has become one of the most recognizable faces on the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Deep dive’ into game helped Casey Mittelstadt become Sabres’ top center

BUFFALO – Don Granato first sensed it during the Sabres’ marathon offseason in 2020. Having been humbled by his demotion to the minors, Casey Mittelstadt grasped he had reached a critical juncture of his career.

When Granato, then an assistant coach, spoke to Mittelstadt, he could feel the center was evolving and maturing.

“He was putting all these pieces (together) of what people had presented to him,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice.

Granato said Mittelstadt ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin feels good about Buffalo’s future. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Rasmus Dahlin believes in Sabres’ new core: ‘We can … change the culture’

BUFFALO – Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin sees something special in the Sabres’ latest rebuild. The roster upheaval created an opportunity for their young core players to transform the team.

Jake McCabe, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen and Linus Ullmark – four pieces of the old nucleus – are gone. Jack Eichel will likely be the next to leave.

So Dahlin, Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt and some other Sabres in their early 20s now form the ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons is the longest-tenured Sabre. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Zemgus Girgensons excited to be back, believes Sabres’ rebuild can work

BUFFALO – Over the years, Zemgus Girgensons grew close to Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart, two of his many ex-Sabres teammates.

Girgensons and Ristolainen joined the NHL together as teenage rookies in 2013. Reinhart arrived two years later.

Before the Sabres traded them in July, they became a part of Girgensons’ everyday life. In his first days back at the rink this season, he still expects to see them.

“I walk around and I think ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju has played two seasons in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres re-sign Casey Mittelstadt, Henri Jokiharju to identical contracts

The Buffalo Sabres on Thursday locked up two of their three restricted free agents, re-signing center Casey Mittelstadt and defenseman Henri Jokiharju to identical three-year, $7.5 million contracts.

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is now the Sabres’ only restricted free agent. Training camp is scheduled to begin later this month.

The Mittelstadt and Jokiharju deals, which carry $2.5 million salary cap hits, could look like bargains in the near future.

... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt started unlocking his potential late last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres reward breakout stretch, re-sign Casey Mittelstadt to three-year contract

Early last season, Casey Mittelstadt toiled on the taxi squad and struggled to crack the Buffalo Sabres’ lineup as a winger. By the end of the year, however, he had morphed into the team’s No. 2 center.

The Sabres on Thursday rewarded Mittelstadt’s breakout stretch under new coach Don Granato, re-signing him to a three-year, $7.5 million contract.

Mittelstadt, 22, is the first key restricted free agent the Sabres have re-signed. Defensemen Rasmus ... Read the full article

Isak Rosen has competed against men in pro hockey as a teenager. ©2021, Leksands IF

Sabres prospect Isak Rosen possesses array of special talents: ‘Perfect vision’

Winger Isak Rosen’s selection by the Buffalo Sabres last month turned out to be a blip during a hectic NHL Draft weekend.

Consider that barely an hour before the Sabres drafted Rosen 14th overall July 23, they added a potentially franchise-altering asset by taking defenseman Owen Power with the first pick. Earlier that day, the Sabres traded defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers in the deal that netted them the pick they used to ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk, shown here with Rochester, began his NHL career in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Mark Pysyk excited for chance to play defense, optimistic about Sabres’ future

Mark Pysyk said the move shocked him. He had played defense his entire career, and the Florida Panthers suddenly wanted to utilize him as a forward.

But Pysyk had become a spare part in the 2019-20 season under new coach Joel Quenneville. Shifting to wing beat the alternative of remaining a healthy scratch.

So Pysyk embraced the change, often skating on the fourth line while moving back to defense as a penalty killer.

“It was ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants to be traded. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams sends strong message to Jack Eichel’s camp

BUFFALO – General manager Kevyn Adams’ strong words sounded like a not-so-subtle message to Jack Eichel’s agents, who recently said they expect the Sabres to trade their captain soon.

Adams won’t give in to Eichel’s demands and simply deal his best player because he wants out. The Sabres have an asset under contract.

“What’s critically important to make sure is clear that we’re in control of this process,” Adams said Thursday inside KeyBank Center. “We ... Read the full article