Johan Larsson is one of the longest-tenured Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Poor season forced Sabres’ Johan Larsson to change

BUFFALO – Instead of talking about Johan Larsson’s rough season, Sabres coach Phil Housley chose to praise the Swedish center for the transformations he has made.

Larsson struggled mightily in 2017-18, enduring his worst NHL campaign. How bad was he? His wretched minus-30 was the fourth-worst rating among NHL forwards. He scored two of his career-low four goals into empty nets.

But Larsson, 26, accepted Housley and general manager Jason Botterill’s challenge to change ... Read the full article

Zach Bogosian is one of the longest-tenured Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres feel change, excitement as new season opens

BUFFALO – The open communication among the Sabres and the accountability it has generated is new and welcome.

In the recent past, problems often festered and the Sabres usually imploded at the first hint of adversity. Some players clearly felt uncomfortable discussing any issues with each other.

Then following last season’s dreadful 31st-place finish, coach Phil Housley challenged the Sabres. He wanted self-reflection. He wanted them to change before the new season, which kicked off ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has scored 30 goals three times. ©2018, Hickling Images

Jeff Skinner acquisition shows Sabres believe they can win now

Before Thursday’s acquisition of slick winger Jeff Skinner, so many of the Buffalo Sabres’ trades throughout their seemingly endless rebuild focused on the future. Deals would often net them prospects or draft picks, a sign winning wasn’t imminent.

But Sabres general manager Jason Botterill made a different swap to nab the three-time 30-goal scorer from the Carolina Hurricanes. For one of the few times in recent years, the Sabres dealt futures for a proven commodity.... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner offers the Sabres more scoring. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres acquire Jeff Skinner from Hurricanes

The Buffalo Sabres pulled off a rare August trade early tonight, acquiring three-time 30-goal scorer Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward prospect Cliff Pu, a second-round pick in 2019 and third- and sixth-round selections in 2020.

The trade for Skinner, who’s entering the final season of his contract, gives the Sabres another proven scorer at wing. The Sabres, the NHL’s lowest-scoring team last season, needed to replace the offense they lost ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly was due a big bonus Sunday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Ryan O’Reilly’s price likely going up

BUFFALO – If the Sabres pay Ryan O’Reilly his $7.5 million bonus by midnight, the dynamic of any potential trade for the center would change, general manager Jason Botterill said.

Speaking earlier in the day on a conference call, Botterill explained based on his conversations with other teams, paying the money would mean the Sabres have a new asking price.... Read the full article

Matej Pekar likes to agitate opponents. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospects Matej Pekar, Casey Mittelstadt battle on ice

BUFFALO – After Matej Pekar hit Casey Mittelstadt in the head during Saturday’s three-on-three development camp tournament, the agitator sensed an opportunity.

“That’s my shot to kind of piss him off, get in his head and try to win the game for the team,” Pekar said after camp ended inside HarborCenter. “I guess it worked out.”

Pekar, the 94th overall pick a week ago, kept going after Mittelstadt, irking the Sabres’ top forward prospect. The ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary thinks he can help the Sabres. ©2018, Hickling Images

Conor Sheary sees fit with Sabres

BUFFALO – In adding Conor Sheary from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Sabres filled a glaring hole in their lineup. The bottom-feeding club sorely needed a speedy winger capable of scoring goals, especially at five-on-five.

The Sabres now have a left winger they can utilize beside top center Jack Eichel. Having scored only four of his 48 NHL goals on the power play, Sheary owns a track record of producing offense at even strength.... Read the full article

Conor Sheary wasn't expecting to get traded. ©2018, Hickling Images

Conor Sheary excited about new chapter with Sabres

BUFFALO – After the initial shock of getting traded wore off, winger Conor Sheary said he quickly embraced what he believes can be a bright future with the Sabres.

Sheary, of course, grew up with the Pittsburgh Penguins, morphing from an unheralded AHL player into a significant contributor on two Stanley Cup champions.... Read the full article

Conor Sheary has scored 48 NHL goals. ©2018, Hickling Images

Conor Sheary offers Sabres scoring, valuable experience

BUFFALO – During Sabres general manager Jason Botterill’s tenure running Pittsburgh’s top affiliate, the Wilkes-Barres/Scranton Penguins signed an undersized college winger named Conor Sheary to an AHL tryout.

Today, Sheary, 26, has two Stanley Cups and 48 goals on an impressive NHL resume. But barely four years ago, he was an unknown just looking for a pro opportunity after playing four NCAA seasons at the University of Massachusetts.... Read the full article

Matt Hunwick has played 521 NHL games. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres acquire Matt Hunwick, Conor Sheary from Penguins

BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill made his first player trade of the offseason today, sending a conditional 2019 fourth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winger Conor Sheary and defenseman Matt Hunwick.

Botterill, of course, knows Sheary from his days as Pittsburgh’s associate GM.... Read the full article