Jason Botterill thinks Rasmus Ristolainen can keep developing. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres GM Jason Botterill knows teams will ask about Rasmus Ristolainen

VANCOUVER – Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill knows plenty of teams would like to pry away a 6-foot-4 defenseman capable of gobbling up minutes and producing points like Rasmus Ristolainen.

“We understand there’s going to be inquiries about him,” Botterill said Friday morning, hours before the NHL Draft inside Rogers Arena. “We’re open as an organization to continuing to try to find ways to improve our team. But we realize and we’re very ... Read the full article

Jason Botterill will look at options for his first-round picks. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres will likely stay with seventh overall pick

VANCOUVER – Jason Botterill, of course, will see if the Buffalo Sabres can move up from the seventh spot in the first round of tonight’s NHL Draft.

“You always put inquiries into possibly moving up and what’s there,” the general manager said this morning inside Trump International Hotel.

Still, the Sabres will likely keep their first pick. The deep first round makes Botterill “very, very comfortable” they can grab a good prospect early.

“When we ... Read the full article

Los Angeles' Jeff Carter pursues Rasmus Ristolainen last season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Rasmus Ristolainen might be Sabres’ biggest trade chip

VANCOUVER – Rasmus Ristolainen has certainly showcased flashes of brilliance as the Buffalo Sabres’ workhorse defenseman.

Remember when he torched superstar Brent Burns in November to extend the Sabres’ winning streak to 10 games? What about the time he took over a game in 2015-16 against the Calgary Flames, scoring a hat trick in just a 12-minute span?

Three years ago, the Finn appeared to be taking his first steps into stardom. The Sabres, ... Read the full article

Phil Housley began his Hall of Fame playing career with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres’ second-half regression cost Phil Housley his job

BUFFALO – Even as the Sabres stumbled and lost their grip on a playoff spot early in the winter, it seemed like coach Phil Housley would return next season unless the team totally fell apart down the stretch.

Well, the Sabres imploded, losing 16 of 17 games before winning their final two outings. That marked the first time they won back-to-back games since Dec. 11 and 13.

On Sunday, a day after the Sabres finished ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen missed four games. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Rasmus Ristolainen returns after battling flu

BUFFALO – Despite being confined to his bed by the flu last week unable to eat or drink, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had no problem getting up for Tuesday’s meaningless late-season game.

“I mentally feel really fresh,” Ristolainen said prior to the Sabres’ 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators inside KeyBank Center. “It’s kind of fun to play hockey. Just sort of bring some fresh energy to the room and on the ice.”

The reeling ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe hadn't played since March 2. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Jake McCabe returns to lineup as Marco Scandella leaves

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ beleaguered blue line received a much-needed addition Sunday, as Jake McCabe returned after missing 13 games.

Did it help? Well, no. The Columbus Jackets throttled the Sabres 4-0 inside KeyBank Center.

McCabe hadn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury March 2.

Defenseman Marco Scandella, who blocked a shot in Saturday’s ugly 5-1 road loss to the New York Islanders, missed Sunday’s contest. Housley said the Sabres will know more about Scandella’s ... Read the full article

Goalie Carter Hutton readies for a shot Wednesday. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton nearly steals show in loss to Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – For two periods, as the Toronto Maple Leafs kept pummeling the Sabres, it was reminiscent of tank-era games from several years back.

The Leafs pumped 11 shots on goal before the 10-minute mark Wednesday. At one point in the opening period, they held a 17-2 shot advantage.

Goalie Carter Hutton, meanwhile, turned away shot after shot, keeping the Sabres in a game they had no business being in.

Heck, thanks to center ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville has scored 15 goals this season. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Jason Pominville odd man out again

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville understands why he is sitting out. Having played 1,052 NHL games, the Sabres know what the veteran winger offers them.

Nine contests remain in a miserable season. The Sabres, who have fallen from first overall to sixth in the Atlantic Division, want to evaluate other players.

So the Sabres scratched Pominville, 36, for the second straight game Wednesday.

“It’s just the situation we’re at,” Pominville said prior to the 4-2 loss ... Read the full article

Jason Pominville also sat out Sunday afternoon. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres’ Jason Pominville to sit out again versus Maple Leafs

BUFFALO – Jason Pominville understands why he is sitting out. Having played 1,052 NHL games, the Sabres know what the veteran winger offers them.

Ten contests remain in a miserable season. The Sabres, who have fallen from first overall to sixth in the Atlantic Division, want to evaluate other players.

So Pominville, 36, will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sabres coach Phil Housley inserted Vladimir ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly spent three seasons with the Sabres. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: Ryan O’Reilly returns to Buffalo thriving with Blues

BUFFALO – St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly hasn’t experienced a season like this in five years, since he played for the Colorado Avalanche.

For the first time since 2013-14, O’Reilly, 28, has a legitimate chance to reach the playoffs.

Simply contending for a spot has helped rejuvenate O’Reilly, who was beaten down by the losing he endured in Buffalo so much he acknowledged following last season it sapped some of his love for hockey.... Read the full article