The Sabres sent Casey Mittelstadt to Rochester in December. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres should’ve sent Casey Mittelstadt to Amerks earlier: ‘He got rushed’

In the not-so-distant past, Buffalo Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt would’ve likely played two or three years of college hockey before turning pro. After leaving school, instead of being rushed to the NHL, he would’ve started an apprenticeship with the Rochester Americans.

But the NHL has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so, morphing into a game dominated by young men. At the same time, the salary cap has whittled down teams’ depth.

Prized ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Asplund leave the ice after a game in 2019-20. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Cancellation of AHL season means lost opportunities for Amerks

In what would be the final days of the American Hockey League season, coach Chris Taylor drew confidence from the maturity his Rochester Americans began showcasing.

To Taylor, the Amerks’ response to some rare adversity – they endured losing streaks of seven and four games in the winter – illustrated his players had become equipped to handle the highs and lows of a long, grinding season.

“They weren’t getting as frustrated as you think that ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played two games with Rochester. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks send Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to ECHL

The Rochester Americans sent top Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen back to the ECHL today.

Luukkonen, 20, joined the Amerks on Jan. 12 and started two of their three games over the weekend, his first AHL appearances this season.

Amerks general manager Randy Sexton had said Luukkonen’s recall from the Cincinnati Cyclones would likely last a week.... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been stellar in the ECHL. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks recall Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen from ECHL

The Rochester Americans, who have allowed 18 goals over a four-game losing streak, recalled top Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen from the ECHL this morning.

Amerks general manager Randy Sexton recently said Luukkonen, 20, would play games with Rochester during the second half of the season. So despite the Amerks’ struggles, this could be part of the Sabres’ original plan for Luukkonen.

Update: Sexton told The Buffalo News that Luukkonen will spent a week ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been tough to beat as a rookie. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Top Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen named ECHL All-Star

Top Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been named an ECHL All-Star with the Cincinnati Cyclones, the league announced today.

The Finnish rookie has been stellar for the Cyclones, compiling an 11-4-3-2 record with a 2.09 goals-against average, a .909 save percentage and three shutouts in 18 games.

The Sabres sent Luukkonen, a second-round pick in 2017, 54th overall, to the Cylones in November after he recovered from surgery on his hips.... Read the full article

Casey Fitzgerald turned pro late last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Casey Fitzgerald showcases speed, fighting skills

BUFFALO – After watching his son, Casey, unleash some wild haymakers Monday afternoon, Tom Fitzgerald congratulated the Sabres prospect on his first pro fight.

“He just said, ‘Good scrap, you didn’t get that from me, you got that from your mother,’” Casey Fitzgerald said of his father, who played 1,097 NHL games. “I got a good laugh from that. It was good to see him after, have him here.”

Tom Fitzgerald fought just seven times ... Read the full article

Anaheim drafted Kyle Olson in 2017. ©2019, Hickling Images

Invite Kyle Olson impressing Sabres at Prospects Challenge

BUFFALO – Sabres forward Kyle Olson started turning heads on his first shift, scoring just 30 seconds into Friday’s Prospects Challenge opener.

The quick goal turned out to be a harbinger for the rookie camp invite.

Olson, 20, has looked impressive throughout the Sabres’ two wins, showcasing his speed, tenacity and versatility.

“He’s smart, he’s skilled, he thinks the game very well, so he’s able to play with skilled players,” Sabres assistant general manager Randy ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen underwent hip surgery in April. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s recovery ‘right on track’

BUFFALO – Top Sabres goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is “right on track” in his recovery from hip surgery, assistant general manager Randy Sexton said.

“He’s making great progress,” Sexton said prior to Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in the Prospects Challenge rookie tournament.

Still, Luukkonen will miss training camp. When the Finn underwent surgery in April, the Sabres said he would make a full recovery in six months.

They intend on sticking ... Read the full article

The Sabres drafted Brett Murray in the fourth round in 2016. ©2019, Hickling Images

Prospect Brett Murray’s commitment to conditioning impresses Sabres

BUFFALO – Not long ago, the Sabres made a deal with Brett Murray, a prospect whose commitment to conditioning wasn’t up to pro standards.

“What we told him was, ‘Look, you have to make the commitment. If you make a commitment and we see it in development camp, we’ll bring you to the rookie tournament,’” Sabres assistant general manager Randy Sexton said prior to Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins inside Harborcenter.

The ... Read the full article

Curtis Lazar has spent most of his pro career in the NHL. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres sign Andrew Hammond, Curtis Lazar and others for depth

BUFFALO – As general manager Jason Botterill promised, the Sabres added a third goalie shortly after free agency opened Monday, signing veteran Andrew Hammond.

Hammond, whose one-year, one-way deal is worth $700,000, is best known for compiling a 20-1-2 record as a rookie with the Ottawa Senators in 2014-15 and earning “The Hamburglar” nickname.

Overall, Hammond, 31, has put together a 27-15-6 mark with a 2.31 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and four shutouts ... Read the full article