Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played his first four NHL games last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen developed ‘swagger’ on way up to Sabres

BUFFALO – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen displayed it often last season, especially toward the end. The Sabres goalie prospect would become locked in and perform so well he developed some swagger.

Luukkonen, 22, wasn’t boisterous, mind you. The Finn simply possessed what Rochester Americans coach Seth Appert called an “incredible presence.”

“It’s just like something you feel during the games,” Luukkonen said of his swagger. “But I think it’s more you build up that confidence. And once ... Read the full article

J-J Peterka arrived in Buffalo on Saturday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect J-J Peterka thrilled to finally be in Buffalo: ‘He’s buzzing’

BUFFALO – Finally, after 10 months of waiting, Sabres prospect J-J Peterka was set to leave Germany and travel here to prepare for his first NHL training camp.

In normal times, of course, Peterka, 19, probably would’ve visited Buffalo two or three times over the last year. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the winger to stay home.

“I was so curious about it, so excited the whole last year,” a smiling Peterka said following Wednesday’s ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson played 12 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Mattias Samuelsson close to cracking NHL for good

When Mattias Samuelsson returned to Rochester last week following a three-week stint with the Buffalo Sabres, the Americans’ coaching staff challenged the rookie defenseman.

The coaches wanted Samuelsson, fresh off first NHL recall, to use the remaining games on the Amerks’ truncated schedule as a springboard back to Buffalo next season.

“OK, you did a good job in those 12 games, you got a taste,” Amerks coach Seth Appert said the coaches told Samuelsson. “Now ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe was injured Feb. 20. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jake McCabe recovering from knee injury, optimistic about Sabres’ future

After Jake McCabe tore up his right knee Feb. 20, ending his season, the Sabres defenseman said he had some difficult conversations with his family that night.

Then McCabe, who had just returned after battling COVID-19, refused to feel sorry for himself. The American decided “being sad and mad” wouldn’t help him rehab from ACL, MCL and meniscus injuries.

“I’ve just had a really good attitude about it the whole time,” McCabe said on an ... Read the full article

Michael Houser player four games for the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres make moves, send five players to Amerks

Goalie Michael Houser, who started four games for the Buffalo Sabres last week, was among five players the team sent to the Rochester Americans this morning.

The Sabres also assigned defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and forwards Steven Fogarty, Brett Murray and C.J. Smith to their AHL affiliate.

The Amerks have four games left this season, starting with Wednesday’s road contest against the Utica Comets.... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked strong in his NHL debut Friday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres should keep playing goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

BUFFALO – Get this straight: Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen isn’t ready for regular NHL duty.

In the coming weeks or at the beginning of next season, he will likely return to Rochester, where he can carry the load for the Americans and keep developing.

Luukkonen looked terrific for most of his NHL debut, stopping 36 shots in Friday’s 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins. But he needs more seasoning. The Sabres’ top goalie prospect has ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 36 saves Friday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen shines in NHL debut, helps Sabres beat Bruins

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked a little wonky early in his NHL debut, allowing a goal on the first shot he faced barely two minutes into the game. Later in the period, the Boston Bruins hit two goal posts.

But Luukkonen, 22, enjoyed plenty of help for much of Friday’s 6-4 win, allowing him to settle in and grow more comfortable as the night progressed inside KeyBank Center.

The Sabres stymied Boston’s offense ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson was recalled Sunday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Mattias Samuelsson looks impressive in NHL debut

BUFFALO – A month ago, recalling defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and giving one of their top prospects a taste of the NHL wasn’t an option for the Sabres.

They were in the midst of their marathon 18-game winless skid, and the defense corps, like every aspect of the team, was struggling. They couldn’t expose a rookie to that environment.

But the defense has been thriving under interim coach Don Granato and interim assistant Dan Girardi, ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson was a second-round pick in 2018. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres recall Mattias Samuelsson from Amerks, make other moves

BUFFALO – The Sabres this afternoon recalled defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, one of their top prospects, from the Rochester Americans.

Samuelsson, 21, will make his NHL debut this afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins at KeyBank Center.

General manager Kevyn Adams and interim coach Don Granato have said they plan to give some of the organizations prospects a taste of the NHL over the final few weeks this season.... Read the full article

Brandon Montour played 112 games with the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Dealing Brandon Montour to Panthers likely only Sabres’ first deadline trade

BUFFALO – Defenseman Brandon Montour, like so many of the Sabres’ other notable acquisitions in recent years, left town having never sniffed the playoffs.

The Sabres on Saturday traded Montour, who turns 27 today, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.

Barely two years ago, ex-Sabres general manager Jason Botterill paid a steep price for Montour, sending defense prospect Brendan Guhle and a first-round pick to the Anaheim ... Read the full article