Ray Sheppard scored 38 goals as a rookie in 1987-88. ©2016, Rochester Americans

Ray Sheppard’s rookie season still one of Sabres’ best

BUFFALO – As Sabres rookies Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart put the finishing touches on two outstanding, high-scoring seasons, one name from the team’s past keeps popping up: Ray Sheppard.

Each week, it seems, the young forwards become the team’s first rookies to reach or approach milestones since Sheppard, who scored 38 goals and 65 points in 74 games in 1987-88 before fizzling out and re-emerging as one of the NHL’s most dangerous scorers.

Sheppard’s ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) joined Jack Eichel in a special club. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sam Reinhart hits 20-goal mark in Sabres’ win over Senators

BUFFALO – The significance should be noted. For the first time in 41 years and only the third time in franchise history, two Sabres rookies – Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart – have scored 20 goals.

The 20-goal mark has long been a standard in hockey. In this low-scoring era, the milestone has an increased importance.

Just months into their NHL careers, the youngsters drafted second overall and charged with leading the Sabres back to ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart (23) piled up more goals than assists earlier this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Sam Reinhart developing into playmaker

BUFFALO – Early on, Sam Reinhart’s slick playmaking abilities took a backseat as the Sabres rookie developed into a strong net-front presence.

By late February, Reinhart, who regularly parks himself at the crease, owned an odd and lopsided stat line: 18 goals and nine assists.

Now, Reinhart, 20, has started showcasing his dynamic passing skills – anticipation and vision that compliment his soft hands – and upped his assists total by running off five ... Read the full article

Cal O'Reilly has been playing strong minutes. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Cal O’Reilly producing for Sabres

BUFFALO – Don’t think of Cal O’Reilly as a late-season recall the Sabres simply added to fill out the roster for a few weeks.

If O’Reilly keeps producing like he has recently – one goal and three points in four games – the versatile forward could perhaps earn a regular role as a third- or fourth-liner next season.

“I always view the roster as about 32 people,” coach Dan Bylsma said today after the Sabres ... Read the full article

A.J. Greer rides an exercise bike Saturday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Draft prospect A.J. Greer wants teammate Jack Eichel to leave school early

BUFFALO – Like everyone in the Boston University program, NHL Draft prospect A.J. Greer would benefit greatly from another season with Jack Eichel, the phenom the Sabres will draft second overall June 26.

Eichel’s incredible talents ignited the Terriers, transforming them from an also-ran into a powerhouse that fell a goal short of the national title in April.

All season, as Eichel’s legend grew, youngsters like Greer – an 18-year-old winger NHL Central Scouting ranks ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel would likely be the No. 1 pick in any other year. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres lose lottery to Oilers, get No. 2 pick

TORONTO – With only a 20 percent chance of winning, Tim Murray expected the Sabres would lose the NHL Draft Lottery tonight. The general manager was right. Sorry, Buffalo, Connor McDavid is going to the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers, with only an 11.5 percent chance, snagged hockey’s most coveted prospect.

The Sabres, of course, received a pretty nice consolation prize, slick Boston University center Jack Eichel. The 18-year-old Boston native would likely be the No. ... Read the full article

Florida selected Aleksander Barkov second overall last year. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Second pick has paid huge dividends in recent years

PHILADELPHIA – How good are the Buffalo Sabres’ odds of nabbing a franchise talent with the No. 2 pick tonight? Take a look at the list below.

It can be argued the last 15 picks have been strong hits. The list includes 50-goal scorers, perennial NHL All-Stars and even future Hall of Famers.

In their 44-year history, the Sabres have never owned the second pick. Twice they’ve had the No. 1 pick, 1970, when they ... Read the full article

Dominic Turgeon looks just his father, Pierre. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

NHL Entry Draft profile: Dominic Turgeon close to fulfilling promise he made to himself

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – As the child of an NHL star, Dominic Turgeon feels like he was “born into hockey.” He loved tagging along to the rink with his father, former Buffalo Sabres center Pierre Turgeon, the No. 1 overall pick in 1987.

“I was always around the guys,” Turgeon said last month at the NHL Scouting Combine inside the Toronto International Centre. “I always went out to skate with them, and to me, that always ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen played 19 games with the Sabres. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ reassignment of youngsters represents culture change

BUFFALO – Development time used to be mandatory. Before Mikhail Grigorenko cracked the lineup last season, the Sabres hadn’t played an 18-year-old regularly since Pierre Turgeon in 1987-88. Most of their top prospects spent at least one full season in the minors.

But former general manager Darcy Regier, who was fired with coach Ron Rolston last week, dramatically switched philosophies earlier this year as the Sabres started rebuilding.

The struggling Sabres recently became the first ... Read the full article

Boston's Scott Thornton (22) battles John Scott on Wednesday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Woeful Sabres fall to Bruins, lose John Scott to likely suspension

BUFFALO – Finally, the hapless Sabres began showcasing some progress Wednesday. Slow starters all season, they played a sturdy first period against the mighty Boston Bruins.

Hey, take it where you can find it, right?

Even after falling behind 2-0 just 40 seconds into the second period, they battled back, slicing the Bruins’ lead to 3-2 after 18-year-rookie Nikita Zadorov scored his first NHL goal, a nifty one at that, late in the period.

Maybe ... Read the full article