Evan Rodrigues (71) tries to grab the puck between Philadelphia's Nick Cousins and Valtteri Filppula on March 7. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres re-sign Evan Rodrigues to two-year contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed forward Evan Rodrigues to a two-year, $1.3 million contract, the team announced this afternoon.

With Rodrigues locked up, the Sabres have two unsigned restricted free agents: defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and forward Zemgus Girgensons.

Rodrigues, who turns 24 on Friday, enjoyed a breakout campaign as a center last season, playing regularly with the Sabres for the final two months. In 30 NHL games, the Boston University product compiled four goals ... Read the full article

Chad Johnson spent last season in Calgary. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres face challenges adding talent in free agency

BUFFALO – For a team fresh off a last-place finish, the Sabres have a high number of contracts, including a few bloated ones, in place for next season.

Counting restricted free agents expected to be back, the Sabres already have about 19 players who could be regulars in 2017-18. Veterans Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges and Matt Moulson combine for more than $14 million of salary cap space.

Bad teams usually don’t approach the cap, but ... Read the full article

Taylor Fedun played 27 NHL games last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Taylor Fedun to two-year contract

BUFFALO – The Sabres added defense depth today, re-signing Taylor Fedun to a two-year, two-way contract.

The 29-year-old could’ve become an unrestricted free agent Saturday.

Fedun split last season between the NHL and AHL, compiling career-high seven assists and seven points in 27 games, all career highs.

The Princeton product also had five goals and 23 points in 29 appearances with the Rochester Americans.

Fedun showcased some of his offensive prowess on the power play ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson played 36 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Johan Larsson’s absence hurt Sabres

BUFFALO – When center Johan Larsson suffered two season-ending dislocations New Year’s Eve, the Sabres quietly experienced a critical blow to their playoff hopes.

While the absences of some higher-profile forwards – Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo, for example – garnered more attention, the Sabres struggled to replace Larsson’s tenacious two-way game.

Without Larsson, who dislocated his elbow and wrist, the Sabres became a “different team,” said Marcus Foligno, the Swede’s regular winger on ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel was the Sabres' leading scorer this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Disappointing season leaves Sabres’ Jack Eichel seething

BUFFALO – Jack Eichel looked like he would’ve rather been anywhere else. The Sabres center was restless throughout his six-minute chat with the media Monday, mostly giving terse statements and looking around as he stood at a podium.

Eichel, 20, isn’t handling the Sabres’ last-place finish in the Atlantic Division – they also ended 2016-17 an embarrassing 15th in the 16-team Eastern Conference – very well.

“It’s tough,” a seething Eichel said inside KeyBank Center ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly (90) believes everyone needs to be better. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly sick of losing: ‘It’s getting exhausting’

BUFFALO – At this point, as the Sabres stumble at the end of another disappointing season, frustration has started overwhelming Ryan O’Reilly.

O’Reilly, 26, has experienced enough losing. The popular center passionately called out himself and his teammates to be better during a brutally honest chat with the media prior to Wednesday’s home finale against the Montreal Canadiens, a 2-1 win.

“I’m sick of losing,” O’Reilly said inside KeyBank Center. “It’s getting exhausting and ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel (15) wasn't as good as Toronto's Auston Matthews on Monday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres implode early, lose to Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – For the opening 20 minutes of Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sabres were downright awful in their worst display of hockey all season. The embarrassing period, punctuated by a disastrous 43-second stretch, could have dramatic repercussions.

There have been a lot of bad periods over the Sabres’ six-season playoff drought. It can be argued Monday’s was the worst.

The upstart Maple Leafs outclassed the sloppy Sabres early before the ... Read the full article

The Sabres want to give Alexander Nylander a look. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander debuts against Maple Leafs, brother

BUFFALO – Why now? Why did the Sabres recall top forward prospect Alexander Nylander on Monday of all days, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his brother, slick rookie William Nylander, in town?

On one hand, the night was unforgettable. NHL debuts are always special, but could you imagine doing it against your brother? On the other hand, the pressure on Alexander Nylander, 19, only increased with his high-scoring sibling in town with the scorching ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander was recalled this morning. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Debut against brother will be special for Sabres’ Alexander Nylander

BUFFALO – Why now? Why did the Sabres recall top forward prospect Alexander Nylander today of all days, with the Toronto Maple Leafs and his brother, slick rookie William Nylander, in town?

On one hand, the night will be unforgettable. NHL debuts are always special, but could you imagine doing it against your brother? On the other hand, the pressure on Alexander Nylander, 19, will only increase.... Read the full article

C.J. Smith, shown here with the USHL's Chicago Steel, will make his NHL debut this afternoon. ©2017, MJB Images, Chicago Steel

Sabres rookie C.J. Smith ready for NHL debut

BUFFALO – Thursday, Sabres newcomer C.J. Smith’s first day in the NHL, was “extremely overwhelming,” the rookie winger said.

“I didn’t get to soak it in as much as I wanted to,” Smith said Saturday inside HarborCenter.

Smith signed his entry-level contract in the morning, practiced with his new teammates shortly after and had to take a test online – the finance major is still enrolled at UMass Lowell, where he spent three seasons – ... Read the full article