Colin Miller gives the Sabres five right-handed defensemen. ©2019, Hickling Images

Colin Miller’s acquisition could be start of busy summer for Sabres

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ acquisition of defenseman Colin Miller from the Vegas Golden Knights for two draft picks Friday night will only fuel speculation more moves are coming soon.

Right-shot defenseman are coveted by NHL teams. The Sabres now possess five of them, a high number they must trim to create more balance on their defense pairs.

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, of course, is a righty. After six seasons of losing in Buffalo, a ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill thinks Rasmus Ristolainen can keep developing. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres GM Jason Botterill knows teams will ask about Rasmus Ristolainen

VANCOUVER – Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knows plenty of teams would like to pry away a 6-foot-4 defenseman capable of gobbling up minutes and producing points like Rasmus Ristolainen.

“We understand there’s going to be inquiries about him,” Botterill said Friday morning, hours before the NHL Draft inside Rogers Arena. “We’re open as an organization to continuing to try to find ways to improve our team. But we realize and we’re very ... Read the full article

Los Angeles' Jeff Carter pursues Rasmus Ristolainen last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rasmus Ristolainen might be Sabres’ biggest trade chip

VANCOUVER – Rasmus Ristolainen has certainly showcased flashes of brilliance as the Buffalo Sabres’ workhorse defenseman.

Remember when he torched superstar Brent Burns in November to extend the Sabres’ winning streak to 10 games? What about the time he took over a game in 2015-16 against the Calgary Flames, scoring a hat trick in just a 12-minute span?

Three years ago, the Finn appeared to be taking his first steps into stardom. The Sabres, ... Read the full article

Jack Hughes is the presumptive first overall pick. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres will have strong options early at NHL Draft

VANCOUVER – The first two picks of tonight’s NHL Draft have been set for months. Unless something wild transpires inside Rogers Arena, the New Jersey Devils will select Jack Hughes first overall and the New York Rangers will grab Kaapo Kakko second.

The 2019 draft really begins with the third pick, when the Chicago Blackhawks go on the clock.

Drafts, of course, are always unpredictable. Youngsters pegged as surefire high picks inevitably fall.

But the ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored a career-high 40 goals in 2018-19. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill knows Jeff Skinner interested to see coach

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill understands 40-goal winger Jeff Skinner needed to know something important before making a huge decision.

“If you’re going to sign a long-term contract with an organization, you kind of want to know who the head coach is,” Botterill said Wednesday after announcing Ralph Krueger as the 19th head coach in franchise history.

Skinner, who turns 27 on Thursday, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Until ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel pins the Sabres' woes on the players. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ inability to find coaching stability has contributed to demise

BUFFALO – In less than five seasons with the Sabres, defenseman Zach Bogosian has already played for three coaches.

“Three coaches in this amount of years, you’ve got to really take a long, hard look (at yourself),” Bogosian said Monday, a day after the Sabres fired Phil Housley following an awful second half.

Not long ago, the Sabres were a model of coaching stability. Lindy Ruff lasted through three ownership regimes over 16 years. When ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner was the Sabres' first 40-goal scorer in 10 years. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner needs time to think about future

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Jeff Skinner needs time to decompress following a grueling 82-game season before he starts thinking about his next contract.

Sure, the 40-goal scorer said he loves playing in Buffalo. Despite the Sabres’ sorry season – coach Phil Housley was fired Sunday – he believes they’re heading in the right direction.

But Skinner, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, made sure his contract took a backseat during the season.... Read the full article

Jack Eichel blamed the players, not Phil Houlsey. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres surprised by Phil Housley’s firing, believe players at fault

BUFFALO – Just days before Phil Housley’s dismissal, captain Jack Eichel was adamant the Sabres’ woes should be pinned on the players, not the coach.

Eichel’s words, which he repeated this morning, couldn’t save Housley, who was fired Sunday after the Sabres’ sorry finish.

“It’s on us in the room,” Eichel said as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held end-of-season-meetings inside KeyBank Center. “We’re the product on the ice. It’s unfortunate that ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo has scored twice in the last four games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo responds to challenge from coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – Late in the winter, in the midst of perhaps his worst season ever, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo and coach Phil Housley had what the veteran called a “good conversation” about his play.

Okposo, of course, didn’t want to share details of his chat with Housley, someone he has known since he was a teenager.

But during their talk, Okposo said Housley, who wasn’t made available to the media Wednesday, “challenged me.”

“I just ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen missed four games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen returns after battling flu

BUFFALO – Despite being confined to his bed by the flu last week unable to eat or drink, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had no problem getting up for Tuesday’s meaningless late-season game.

“I mentally feel really fresh,” Ristolainen said prior to the Sabres’ 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators inside KeyBank Center. “It’s kind of fun to play hockey. Just sort of bring some fresh energy to the room and on the ice.”

The reeling ... Read the full article