Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen missed Wednesday’s game in Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen could make NHL debut this weekend

Top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s highly anticipated NHL debut could take place this weekend, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said.

The Sabres have become woefully thin in net, losing Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton to injuries after trading Jonas Johansson.

If Luukkonen hadn’t suffered a lower-body injury with the Rochester Americans, the Sabres likely would’ve recalled him before Thursday’s 5-2 road win over the Washington Capitals at Capital One Center. The Finn missed ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski enjoyed an impressive relief performance Tuesday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goaltending becomes concern again for Sabres

A lower-body injury will force Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark to miss tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals, meaning Dustin Tokarski will receive his fifth start this season.

Taxi-squad goalie Michael Houser, who has never played an NHL game, will back up Tokarski. Houser, 28, hasn’t played a contest at any level in more than 13 months.

Top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would be the only available recall, but Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert... Read the full article

Anders Bjork spent his entire career in Boston’s organization before Monday’s trade. ©2021, Providence Bruins

Anders Bjork excited for opportunity with Sabres: ‘A fresh start for me’

Four seasons into his NHL career, Buffalo Sabres newcomer Anders Bjork said he is still trying to establish an identity.

Two shoulder surgeries and a brutal concussion stymied the 6-foot, 197-pound winger’s development with the Boston Bruins. This year, he fell out of the lineup, becoming a healthy scratch.

So when the Bruins traded Bjork, 24, to the Sabres on Monday in the Taylor Hall deal, he welcomed a change of scenery.

“I was ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has become Buffalo’s top offensive threat. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Casey Mittelstadt, Sabres’ other young players growing under Don Granato

BUFFALO – In his first 12 games as interim coach, Don Granato’s most telling accomplishment has been his ability to unlock potential from several of the Sabres’ young players who struggled to stay in the lineup earlier this season.

Consider that in Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, center Casey Mittelstadt, defenseman Henri Jokiharju and winger Tage Thompson scored for the Sabres inside KeyBank Center.

All three players are 23 or under and spent ... Read the full article

Steven Fogarty has an opportunity to stick in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Steven Fogarty impressing Sabres, has opportunity to stick in Buffalo

BUFFALO – There was no wild celebration. Not even a fist pump.

When Sabres winger Steven Fogarty scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday, he reacted as if he had done it 100 times. A smiling Fogarty simply raised his stick, pointed to defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and shared a few fist bumps with his teammates.

By the time he started skating back to the bench, his grin had disappeared.

“It just happened so quick and ... Read the full article

Brandon Montour tries to escape Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl in Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Don Granato overworks players; Buffalo plans to add prospects

BUFFALO – Instead of letting the Sabres rest and recover in the midst of their grueling schedule, interim coach Don Granato said he has “overworked” his players.

“We’re trying to push them harder to develop harder,” Granato said on a Zoom call prior to Wednesday’s 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank Center. “We know we have to get better. The focus has to be on that. And we have to trust that wins ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel has missed the last 10 games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jack Eichel could play again this season; Jacob Bryson day to day

BUFFALO – Sabres captain Jack Eichel, who has missed the last 10 games recovering from an upper-body injury, could play again this season, interim coach Don Granato said.

Granato said he spoke to Eichel late last week.

“He said he felt good, he was feeling better,” Granato said on a Zoom call this morning. “I don’t think it would be season-ending. So I know we’re all working to get him back. (I) do not ... Read the full article

Eric Staal can become an unrestricted free agent following the season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

After trading Eric Staal, Sabres know more moves coming: ‘Nobody’s naive’

Winger Kyle Okposo knows center Eric Staal was likely only the first of several veteran teammates who will be leaving the hapless Buffalo Sabres over the next few weeks.

The Sabres, having lost 16 straight entering this afternoon’s road game against the Boston Bruins, are broken and on pace to be historically bad. The NHL’s laughingstock needs a massive overhaul, so anyone could be in play before the April 12 trade deadline.

“I mean, nobody’s ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has played eight games with Rochester this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen excited for first taste of NHL

If injured Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark keeps progressing, he could play this week, perhaps as soon as tonight. So Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s first taste of the NHL might be brief.

Still, spending just a day or two with the Sabres, even on the taxi squad as their third goalie, should be a significant step for Luukkonen’s development.

“The more time a prospect can get around (the NHL), the easier it becomes for them to associate, ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark has missed the last 13 games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Linus Ullmark returns to practice; Sabres have more injuries

Having been sidelined the last 13 games, Linus Ullmark must keep testing his lower-body injury in practice. So as badly as the Buffalo Sabres need their No. 1 goalie back, he needs more than one session before he can play again.

“For now, there’s no set timetable for me; it’s more of a day-to-day basis,” Ullmark said on a Zoom call Tuesday after practicing for the first time since getting injured Feb. 23.

So on ... Read the full article