Carter Hutton could see a lot of action next season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres present special opportunity to goalie Carter Hutton

BUFFALO – A simple factor contributed to Carter Hutton quietly morphing into one of the NHL’s best goalies last season. Instead of relegating the veteran to backup duty again, the St. Louis Blues rewarded his splendid play, giving him extra action.

In his first five full NHL seasons, Hutton had always been labeled the No. 2 goalie. After averaging only 21 appearances over the previous three years, he played 32 games in 2017-18, stealing playing ... Read the full article

Carter Hutton has never played more than 40 games in an NHL season. ©2018, Hickling Images

Follow along for free agency updates: Sabres sign goalie Carter Hutton:

As expected, the Buffalo Sabres signed goalie Carter Hutton to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $2.75 million shortly after free agency opened today.

The Sabres had to pursue a proven veteran after moving on from former starter Robin Lehner last week, as management seems uncomfortable with prospect Linus Ullmark carrying the load.... Read the full article

Carter Hutton could sign a three-year contract. ©2018, Hickling Images

Report: goalie Carter Hutton likely to sign with Sabres

BUFFALO – Goalie Carter Hutton, the career backup who enjoyed a stellar 2017-18 season with the St. Louis Blues, will reportedly join the Sabres when free agency opens Sunday.

There has been speculation the Sabres would pursue Hutton, 32, since they let starter Robin Lehner go last week.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner received a one-year contract before last season. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres in market for goalie after letting loose Robin Lehner

DALLAS – In cutting loose Robin Lehner, the Buffalo Sabres turned over some of their goaltending duties to a youngster with only 26 games of NHL experience.

But the Sabres believe Linus Ullmark deserves a chance to showcase his abilities after a three-year AHL apprenticeship with the Rochester Americans.... Read the full article

Robin Lehner spent three seasons with the Sabres. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres won’t bring back goalie Robin Lehner

DALLAS – Robin Lehner’s career with the Buffalo Sabres is over.

General manager Jason Botterill said this morning the Sabres have informed Lehner, a restricted free agent, they won’t be making him a qualifying offer, making him a free agent.

“You finish 31st, you have to make some difficult choices,” Botterill said inside the W Dallas Hotel just hours before tonight’s NHL Draft. “We have informed Robin that he’s not coming back next year. … ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner reacts to allowing a goal last season with Toronto's Patrick Marleau in front of him. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres could move on from goalie Robin Lehner soon

DALLAS – In the coming days, the Buffalo Sabres could confirm what has been widely speculated for months: goalie Robin Lehner won’t be back for a fourth season.

If the Sabres can’t trade Lehner, rather than making a $4 million qualifying offer to the restricted free agent by Monday’s deadline, they might simply walk away, making him unrestricted.... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was a sixth-round pick in 2012. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ inability to find steals in NHL Draft contributed to demise

BUFFALO – Nine years ago, the Sabres, whose knack for unearthing mid- and late-round draft gems helped them morph into a Stanley Cup contender earlier in the decade, found another undervalued youngster.

When the Sabres selected Marcus Foligno in the fourth round, 104th overall, he was simply a talented kid with a familiar name.

But the son of former Sabres captain Mike Foligno would quickly develop into one of junior hockey’s top forward prospects.... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark makes a save Wednesday. ©2018, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks goalie Linus Ullmark emotional after season-ending loss

ROCHESTER – Linus Ullmark struggled to answer the question. The goalie paused for a moment and fought back tears following what could be his last AHL appearance.

Talk to any member of the upstart Americans, and they’ll likely tell you how a great group of guys helped buoy them to their first playoff appearance since 2014.

So when Ullmark, 24, tried talking about what made the team so special following Wednesday’s season-ending 6-3 loss, he ... Read the full article

Phil Housley won 25 games as a rookie coach. ©2018, Hickling Images

Sabres notes: GM Jason Botterill supports coach Phil Housley

BUFFALO – It’s unlikely legendary coaches Toe Blake or Scotty Bowman could’ve done much with the Sabres this season. A dearth of talent helped them finish 31st overall.

Still, following such a miserable campaign, the question had to be asked: will Phil Housley be general manager Jason Botterill’s coach again next season?

“One-hundred percent Phil Housley will be our coach next year,” Botterill said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “I have certainly enjoyed working with Phil ... Read the full article

Despite a hot stretch during the winter, Chad Johnson ended this season with some weak statistics. ©2018, Hickling Images

Goalie Chad Johnson’s second stint with Sabres went poorly

BUFFALO – If Chad Johnson had known the Sabres would struggle so much this season, the goalie likely would’ve looked for work elsewhere.

“I wouldn’t have put my career in a situation like that after having a lot of success and doing well,” Johnson said Monday as the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and held exit interviews inside KeyBank Center.

Thanks to two strong seasons, Johnson, 31, enjoyed some options during free agency last summer. ... Read the full article