Training Camp Edition

Archive:
Ullmark

Anders Nilsson will likely be the Sabres' backup goalie this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Two years ago, frustrated by his limited opportunities, Sabres newcomer Anders Nilsson bolted North America for a gig tending goal for Ak Bars Kazan, a Russian team in the KHL.

The decision, of course, made Nilsson’s NHL future iffy. But after 23 appearances with the New York Islanders, the Swede said he felt “ready for the next step.” He wanted to develop at a high level, something a fourth straight season in the minors wouldn’t offer him.

“You know, it’s …

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Zemgus Girgensons was all over the ice last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres team that will convene today for training camp physicals, the official start of the 2016-17 season, isn’t much different from the one that just finished seventh in the Atlantic Division.

Sure, there were some notable summer additions. Winger Kyle Okposo, who signed a seven-year, $42 million contract July 1, was arguably the best free agent available. Dmitri Kulikov gives the Sabres a sturdy veteran to skate beside No. 1 defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

Still, more than anything, the Sabres …

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Linus Ullmark had highs and lows as a rookie. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Almost a year ago, just months removed from double hip surgery, Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark roared into NHL, winning four of his first six starts.

By early November, some fans wanted Ullmark to be the Sabres’ new starter. By January, the rookie was back in the minors. By March, he couldn’t even win an AHL game, losing eight straight decisions.

“My first half of the season was good,” Ullmark said Sunday following a session of rookie camp. “Then the (second) …

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Giorgio Estephan scored 30 goals last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The most prolific goal scorer among Sabres prospects last season wasn’t top pick Alexander Nylander, 83-point man Eric Cornel or even Justin Bailey, whose fine play earned him his first NHL action.

Try Giorgio Estephan, a 2015 sixth-round selection, 152nd overall, who scored 30 goals and 74 points in only 59 games for the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2015-16.

If you haven’t heard much about Estephan, that might change soon. The 6-foot, 197-pound center has quietly developed into …

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Justin Bailey enjoyed a terrific rookie season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Sure, it’s just rookie camp, four days reserved for Sabres prospects before training camp. By the end of the month, most of the youngsters participating will be back in junior or the minors.

But with young talent relied on so heavily these days, the battle for NHL jobs really begins today, when camp opens inside HarborCenter.

Five prospects – forwards Justin Bailey, Hudson Fasching and Evan Rodrigues and goalies Jason Kasdorf and Linus Ullmark – have already played for the …

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Jason Kasdorf made his NHL debut April 8. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed goalie Jason Kasdorf, who made his NHL debut late last season, to a two-year, two-way contract, the team announced Sunday.

The 6-foot-3, 172-pound Kasdorf, 24, will likely begin next season with the AHL Rochester Americans.

Kasdorf, an afterthought in the blockbuster 2015 Evander Kane with the Jets, joined the Sabres in March after finishing his NCAA career with R.P.I. He played his only pro game April 8, making 26 saves in a 4-1 home loss to …

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Alexander Nylander hasn't worn a Sabres jersey on the ice yet. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Watching a top prospect skate in a Sabres jersey for the first time, even in a development camp setting, is a special experience for fans always eager to welcome new talent.

For the next six days, starting with today’s session inside HarborCenter, the Sabres’ rabid fan base will receive its first glimpses of Swedish winger Alexander Nylander, the eighth overall pick June 24 at the First Niagara Center, sporting blue and gold on the ice.

Nylander, of course, will be …

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Anders Nilsson played for two teams last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – After a goalie reneged on a verbal agreement with the Sabres on Friday, general manager Tim Murray said he was open to anything – a trade, landing another free agent or even using prospect Linus Ullmark – to fill the backup role.

With most of the established goalies in the Sabres’ price range already signed, Murray went the trade route today, sending a 2017 fifth-round draft pick to the St. Louis Blues for Anders Nilsson.

Murray loves to have size …

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Kyle Okposo was sold on Buffalo early. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The conversation lasted maybe 15 minutes. General manager Tim Murray wanted to gauge Kyle Okposo’s interest, and the free agent wanted to hear what the Sabres could offer him.

When Murray began telling him how underrated the city is, Okposo stopped him and said he knows all about Buffalo and likes it. The nine-year veteran wanted to learn more about the organization.

So after Murray talked about the Sabres and the bright future he envisions, Okposo hung up the phone …

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Kyle Okposo cashed in early in free agency. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Winger Kyle Okposo, arguably the best free agent available, signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Sabres shortly after the market opened this afternoon, according to multiple reports.

The signing is significant. Just 15 months removed from their second consecutive 30th-place finish, the Sabres, who improved 27 points last season, secured a strong talent to play beside centers Jack Eichel or Ryan O’Reilly.

Okposo is coming off a 22-goal, 64-point season with the New York Islanders. He has 139 …

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