Rasmus Ristolainen (right) battles Brendan Lemieux during Tuesday's scrimmage. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Rasmus Ristolainen looking leaner, impressing during development camp

BUFFALO – While other Sabres prospects have packed on weight this summer, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has “lost a couple pounds.”

“Fat, not any muscles,” the 19-year-old Finn said following Tuesday’s development camp scrimmage inside the First Niagara Center.

The 6-foot-4, 207-pound Ristolainen showcased some muscle early in the contest, hitting top prospect Sam Reinhart.

“I don’t watch who I’m hitting,” Ristolainen said. “If I get a chance, I hit. That’s all.”

Later on, Ristolainen ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart believes he can play in the NHL soon. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sam Reinhart and deep prospect pool show Sabres could have bright future

BUFFALO – Up and down they went side-by-side, each stride drawing eyes inside the First Niagara Center. For a few moments during development camp Monday, Sam Reinhart and Brendan Lemieux, the jewels of the Sabres’ 2014 draft class, skated together, a brief-but-memorable glimpse into the future.

If the Sabres become contenders again someday, this week’s camp could be remembered as one of the building blocks.

Seven first-round picks are participating, including Reinhart, the slick ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart skates today. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart wants to play in NHL immediately

BUFFALO – Slick center Sam Reinhart has no problem saying it. The top Sabres prospect, the No. 2 overall pick last month, wants to crack the NHL immediately next season.

“In my mind, I’m thinking if I come and play the way I’m capable of playing, I feel confident I can earn a spot and make an impact next year,” Reinhart said this afternoon following the opening session of development camp inside the First Niagara ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons spent all last season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Plenty of intriguing Sabres prospects participating in development camp

BUFFALO – Some experts are already predicting the Sabres, a team three months removed from the worst NHL season in recent memory, will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in a few years.

Why? Their prospect pool might be the deepest in hockey.

Seven first-round picks are participating in the team’s development camp this week. Seven of the 41 prospects played in the NHL last season, including center Zemgus Girgensons, who spent the entire campaign ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart was smiling Friday at Coca-Cola Field. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign top prospect Sam Reinhart to entry-level deal

BUFFALO – Barely two weeks after drafting him No. 2 overall, the Sabres have signed slick 18-year-old center Sam Reinhart to a three-year, entry-level contract, the club announced today.

The Sabres expect Reinhart, who’s in town for the team’s upcoming development camp, to compete for an NHL roster spot next season.

“We are very excited to have Sam under contract,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. “We look forward to watching ... Read the full article

The Sabres drafted Sam Reinhart last month. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sam Reinhart and all of Sabres’ 2014 draft choices set to attend development camp next week

BUFFALO – Forty one prospects, including No. 2 pick Sam Reinhart and all of the Sabres’ 2014 draft choices, will be participating in the annual summer development camp from Monday to Friday, the team announced today.

Seven first-round picks are on the roster.

The sessions inside the First Niagara Center are free and open to fans. Here’s a complete schedule from the Sabres:

Monday               On-ice coach’s practice: 10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday... Read the full article

Brian Gionta captained Montreal. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign 4 new players, become top destination in free agency

BUFFALO – For two weeks, Tim Murray bristled when the media asked him about the salary floor. The rebuilding Sabres would reach it, the general manager said. He wasn’t worried. They would lure strong veteran talent when free agency opened.

“But you’re never sure until the clock hits 12,” Murray said Tuesday inside the First Niagara Center.

When the clock hit noon Tuesday and the market opened, the Sabres, a laughingstock last season, quickly became ... Read the full article

Tim Murray (left) wants to sign veterans to support youngsters like Sam Reinhart. ©2014, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

GM Tim Murray believes Sabres can add veterans in free agency, not worried about cap floor

BUFFALO – The Sabres have a pretty simple free agency plan. The rebuilding club wants to add some respected veterans, preferably skilled ones who can mentor the team’s youngsters and are willing to take a short term, perhaps just a year or two.

Yes, the Sabres need to add salary badly when the market opens at noon today. After all, they’re a stunning $20,580,834 under the floor. But reaching that mark, a touchy subject for ... Read the full article

Cory Conacher is looking for a new team. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres let Cory Conacher, Jamie McBain go

BUFFALO – The short Sabres careers of winger Cory Conacher and defenseman Jamie McBain are over.

The rebuilding club passed on giving them qualifying offers as restricted free agents, making them free to sign with any team.

The Sabres also didn’t qualify defensemen Nick Crawford and Matt MacKenzie, who played in Rochester, and goalie Connor Knapp, who played two NHL games last season.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray said Monday morning McBain, who struggled his ... Read the full article

The Sabres drafted Brycen Martin 74th overall. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Tim Murray leaves draft happy: ‘I think we went after potential’

PHILADELPHIA – The rebuilding Buffalo Sabres added nine new prospects, seven of them forwards, including No. 2 pick Sam Reinhart, at the NHL Entry Draft this weekend. Of course, hold any judgments on their performance for three or four years.

On Saturday afternoon, however, in the afterglow of his first draft, general manager Tim Murray called it “outstanding,” saying, “Our guys are happy.”

“We have a potential top-two center that can play for us ... Read the full article