On with the summer

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Ullmark

Brendan Guhle enjoyed his visit to Buffalo. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

SUNRISE, Fla. – Brendan Guhle left the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month in Buffalo feeling good about his future. The defenseman had some impressive pre-draft workouts and felt he interviewed well with the Sabres. He also enjoyed seeing sights around the city during his brief stay.

The 6-foot-1, 184-pound Guhle left Buffalo feeling good about his chances of returning.

Lucky for him, he’ll be visiting again real soon. The Sabres selected the 17-year-old in the second round, 51st overall, with their …

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The Sabres need to find a goalie soon. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – If general manager Tim Murray gets his way, the Sabres will pry a young backup from another team soon to help fill their goaltending void.

“I’m confident that we can find something that can work here just by talking to other teams,” Murray said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “There are people available. That’s the avenue we’re pursuing right now.”

The Sabres only have one NHL goalie, Chad Johnson, a career backup, under contract for next season, so …

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Nikita Zadorov's rookie season was rough at times. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
3

BUFFALO – Tim Murray called his end-of-season meeting with 19-year-old Sabres rookie Nikita Zadorov, whose maturity was an issue all year, an “interview.” In reality, the general manager’s chat with the defenseman was probably more of a lecture.

“A big part of … our talk today was me putting the onus on him to grow, to get better to get fitter and become a man,” Murray said Sunday inside the First Niagara Center. “We’ll see how that goes.”

Zadorov, the No. 16 …

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Linus Ullmark will play one more season in his native Sweden. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – It was a low-risk move. In 2012, the Sabres wanted to find a late-round steal in net. The team’s new European scouts scoured Finland and Sweden, two countries known for producing hidden goaltending gems.

Eventually, the Sabres drafted Linus Ullmark, a little-known Swede, in the sixth round, 163rd overall.

Barely two years later, Ullmark has developed into a legitimate NHL prospect. The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in the Swedish Hockey League last year, compiling a gaudy .931 save percentage …

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Linus Ullmark grew up playing Nintendo. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Despite being born in 1993, Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark grew up playing Nintendo and Super Nintendo, classic video game consoles from an earlier generation.

“I’ve been playing that kind of stuff for a way, way long time, since I was like 5,” Ullmark said last week following a development camp session inside the First Niagara Center.

Ullmark likes the “Super Mario Bros.” games so much he asked his mask designer, David Gunnarsson, to paint characters from the game – …

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Zemgus Girgensons spent all last season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Some experts are already predicting the Sabres, a team three months removed from the worst NHL season in recent memory, will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in a few years.

Why? Their prospect pool might be the deepest in hockey.

Seven first-round picks are participating in the team’s development camp this week. Seven of the 41 prospects played in the NHL last season, including center Zemgus Girgensons, who spent the entire campaign with the Sabres.

Fans can get their first glimpses …

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Linus Ullmark has worn a white mask at times during his career. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

As you can see from the photo above, Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark sported a vanilla look during the team’s development camp last summer.

At times throughout his career, Ullmark has worn just a plain white mask. The 20-year-old Swede has a creative side, however. Check out the Bowser (from Super Mario Bros.) mask he just commissioned artist David Gunnarsson to paint.

Ullmark’s a big Nintendo fan, according to Gunnarsson. The youngster plans to wear the mask next season with Modo …

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Logan Nelson had 23 goals in 2013-14. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Unless there’s a late announcement coming, the Sabres didn’t sign forward Logan Nelson before today’s deadline to ink 2012 non-collegiate draft choices.

The Sabres signed all the junior and European players from that class, including goalie Linus Ullmark and defenseman Brady Austin, two prospects picked after they selected Nelson in the fifth round, 133rd overall.

Nelson had 23 goals and 54 points in 59 games with the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals in 2013-14. The 20-year-old compiled 60 goals and …

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Linus Ullmark enjoyed a terrific season in Sweden. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

BUFFALO – The Sabres have signed goalie Linus Ullmark to a three-year, entry-level contract, the club announced today.

Ullmark, the 163rd overall pick in 2012, will play one more season in his native Sweden, according to hockeysverige.se. The contract will begin whenever Ullmark starts his North American career.

The 20-year-old is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.08 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in 35 games for MODO in the Swedish Hockey League, earning him the Swedish Goaltender …

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Kevin Devine spends most of his time working on the NHL Entry Draft. ©2012, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
1

PITTSBURGH – More on the Buffalo Sabres’ final five picks Saturday during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft:

Justin Kea, center, Sagina Spirit, Ontario Hockey League, third round, 73rd overall

Despite only three goals and 11 points in 65 games to go with his 76 penalty minutes, amateur scouting director Kevin Devine believes Kea has strong upside.

“If you look at his stats, they’re not very good,” he said. “Halfway through the season they fired their coach. They got a coach there, Greg Gilbert, …

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