Evan Rodrigues (71) battles Boston's Zdeno Chara last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues confident after showcasing versatility last season

BUFFALO – When Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues began examining some information before his arbitration hearing in late July, he learned something interesting.

“Last year, I started in every single position but first-line left wing,” Rodrigues said Monday inside KeyBank Center. “So that kind of shows that I can play in every position. That just speaks to the belief that I have in myself and the belief that I’m a very valuable NHL player.”

Rodrigues’ versatility ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson was traded to Boston last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ Marcus Johansson learned from short tenure with Bruins

BUFFALO – Counting 22 postseason appearances, forward Marcus Johansson played 32 games with the Bruins. The Swede arrived in Boston on Feb. 25 and was gone by July 6, when he signed a two-year, $9 million contract with the Sabres.

But Johansson’s short run with one of the NHL’s model franchises recharged his career.

After battling injuries, including two concussions, with the New Jersey Devils over a season and a half, Johansson played regularly throughout ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson joined Rochester late last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

‘Full-time job’ eating helped Sabres’ Tage Thompson pack on muscle

TORONTO – In the offseason, Buffalo Sabres winger Tage Thompson started what he called a “full-time job.”

“I was eating a lot,” Thompson said prior to Friday’s 3-0 exhibition loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Yes, Thompson, 21, spent much of the spring and summer devouring food.

“I was probably eating five square meals a day with snacks in between,” Thompson said in Buffalo before the Sabres traveled to Scotiabank Arena.

Sound like fun? Well, ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens could be assigned to junior soon. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens ready for NHL preseason debut

BUFFALO – Coach Ralph Krueger wants center Dylan Cozens to relax during tonight’s preseason opener. Throughout the recent Prospects Challenge rookie tournament, the Sabres’ top pick often tried to do to much.

“He was trying to be a different-maker every time on the ice,” Krueger said after the Sabres prepared for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The seventh overall pick knows he must calm down a little.

“I can’t be out there trying to dangle everyone and ... Read the full article

C.J. Smith played 11 NHL games last season. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

AHL star C.J. Smith intent on sticking with Sabres this season

BUFFALO – Only about 10 Sabres forwards have roster spots locked up, meaning in a training camp filled with competition, the best battles might be taking place up front.

Among the players fighting for the four or so remaining slots are journeymen (Jean-Sebastien Dea, for example), NHL veterans (Vladimir Sobotka) and prized prospects (Victor Olofsson).

Then there’s C.J. Smith, an older (he turns 25 on Dec. 1) and often overlooked ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger wants Sabres hockey to be recognizable. ©2019, Hickling Images

Coach Ralph Krueger wants Sabres to establish early identity

BUFFALO – In just three or four weeks, coach Ralph Krueger would like the Sabres’ brand of hockey to be easily identifiable.

“You underline the fact that we’re playing like this, this is Sabres hockey,” Krueger said Friday following the first sessions of training camp inside KeyBank Center.

That, of course, is no easy task for a new coach, let alone one that inherited a laughingstock.

The Sabres haven’t possessed a positive identity in a ... Read the full article

Ralph Krueger takes an interest in his players. ©2019, Hickling Images

Coach Ralph Krueger makes strong early impression on Sabres

BUFFALO – Marcus Johansson hung up the phone and wanted to join the Sabres. Sure, signing with them would offer him a significant role as a top forward and an annual salary of $4.5 million.

But something else lured Johansson, 28, to the Sabres as a free agent: new coach Ralph Krueger.

“It was just my impression from speaking to (Krueger),” Johansson said this morning after training camp opened inside KeyBank Center. “So it was ... Read the full article

Alexander Nylander spent three seasons in the Sabres organization. ©2019, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Trading Alexander Nylander was inevitable for Sabres

BUFFALO – Following another underwhelming season, it felt like only a matter of time before the Sabres cut their losses and traded winger Alexander Nylander.

Through three years as a pro, Nylander, the eighth overall pick by the Sabres’ old regime in 2016, has mostly been a bust.

Sure, the Swede has occasionally showcased his slick skills. Still, he hasn’t consistently displayed the tenacity to match them.

Nylander, 21, couldn’t develop into a dominant ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson played with New Jersey and Boston last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Marcus Johansson excited about Sabres’ future: ‘It’s going to go well’

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Marcus Johansson began his NHL career playing center. When the Washington Capitals needed help there three years ago, he briefly moved back.

So, yes, Johansson, 28, certainly has experience at the position. But the Swede has spent the bulk of his nine-year career skating at left wing.

The Sabres, who signed Johansson to a two-year, $9 million contract on Saturday, need more depth down the middle.

So what role might he ... Read the full article

Marcus Johansson began his NHL career as a center. ©2019, Hickling Images

Marcus Johansson open to any forward role with Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres winger Marcus Johansson began his NHL career playing center. When the Washington Capitals needed help there three years ago, he briefly moved back.

So, yes, Johansson, 28, certainly has experience at the position. But the Swede has spent the bulk of his nine-year career skating at left wing.

The Sabres, who signed Johansson to a two-year, $9 million contract on Saturday, need more depth down the middle.

So what role might he ... Read the full article