Rasmus Ristolainen compiled an NHL-worst minus-41 rating last season. ©2019, Janet Schultz

Sabres want to put Rasmus Ristolainen in ‘positions to have success’

BUFFALO – General manager Jason Botterill said he wasn’t surprised or disappointed defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen indicated in a Finnish interview last week he has asked the Sabres to be traded.

“There’s always stories coming out when players go back and … there’s stories from other organizations coming out of Finland and stuff, too,” Botterill said during Saturday’s Sabres Fan Fest inside KeyBank Center, an event that celebrated the team’s 50th anniversary season. “So those are ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark had an arbitration hearing Friday. ©2019, Hickling Images

Sabres re-sign goalie Linus Ullmark, go over salary cap

BUFFALO – The Sabres have gone over the NHL’s $81.5 million salary cap, according to capfriendly.com.

It appears re-signing goalie Linus Ullmark to a one-year, $1.325 million contract Saturday put them over. But it had been expected the Sabres would exceed the cap as they inked their restricted free agents.

Earlier Saturday, the Sabres avoided arbitration with Jake McCabe, re-signing the defenseman to a two-year, $5.7 million contract. McCabe’s hearing was scheduled for today.... Read the full article

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