Jacob Bryson has played just 52 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jacob Bryson displaying mature game, emerging as Sabres’ best defenseman

PITTSBURGH – For a second or two, it looked like trouble was imminent. Connor McDavid, hockey’s most lethal scorer, had a head of steam as he zoomed toward Buffalo Sabres defensemen Jacob Bryson and Colin Miller late Friday.

After grabbing a 3-2 lead late in the second period, the Sabres endured an offensive onslaught from the Edmonton Oilers over the final minutes. McDavid, who had mostly remained quiet at even strength, seemed ready to explode.... 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

Jacob Bryson played 38 games as a rookie last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jacob Bryson’s rapping, on-ice play endearing him to Sabres

BUFFALO – Jacob Bryson’s Sabres teammates wanted to hear a joke from him last season, so he figured, what the heck, why not write a funny rap about some of them?

The defenseman took 30 minutes, typed some lyrics and returned with a “song” to perform for them.

Bryson poked fun at Rasmus Ristolainen’s long goatee, Cody Eakin’s “orange” hair and Casey Mittelstadt’s penchant for using an ARP machine, which aids in recovery.

“I would ... Read the full article

Robert Hagg joined Buffalo on July 23. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Trade to Sabres energized Robert Hagg: ‘I can’t wait to get to Buffalo’

BUFFALO – Sabres newcomer Robert Hagg knew the Philadelphia Flyers would aggressively overhaul their roster. Instead of contending for the Stanley Cup last season, they imploded after a hot start, finishing a disappointing sixth in the East Division.

“The year we had last year was awful with Philly,” said Hagg, who was acquired July 23 in exchange for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and two high draft picks. “So we kind of knew that something was going ... Read the full article

Will Butcher could enjoy a leading role in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Will Butcher has special chance to reignite sputtering career

BUFFALO – Adrenaline and excitement buoyed defenseman Will Butcher through his season debut. In his first outing in nearly five months, the Sabres ran the newcomer ragged, skating him more than 28 minutes.

While Butcher, 26, said he felt fine during Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the heavy workload caught up with him later.

“Yeah, it was a lot of minutes,” Butcher said following Wednesday’s sessions of training camp inside KeyBank ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju struggled early last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju ready to seize fresh opportunities

BUFFALO – The new, more aggressive system Sabres coach Don Granato installed last season helped defenseman Henri Jokiharju transform his game.

Instead of laying back, Jokiharju, 22, could finally attack. After struggling for months under ex-coach Ralph Krueger, the Finn recaptured the steady form he showcased in 2019-20.

“It was way easier to play,” Jokiharju said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “You play the hockey, just go out there. You weren’t just passive or falling back. ... 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

Buffalo drafted Rasmus Dahlin first overall in 2018. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin has contract, chance to thrive under Don Granato

Over the final weeks last season, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin shook off a ghastly three-month slump, morphing into the Buffalo Sabres’ most dynamic presence some games.

Dahlin, 21, started playing confidently again, showcasing a calmer, more composed style while utilizing his speed and embracing the physical side.

His transformation under new coach Don Granato illustrated that despite some struggles, he possesses the talent to develop into one of the NHL’s premier defensemen.

In the near ... Read the full article