BUFFALO – For seven months last season, Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt lived the hectic NHL life. The rookie practiced almost daily, played 77 games and logged thousands of air miles traveling across North America.
Mittelstadt, 20, had never experienced anything like it.
Then in the second week of April, everything stopped. When the season ended, Mittelstadt quickly became bored.
“You go from 100 mph to literally zero,” Mittelstadt said prior to Wednesday’s 4-3 preseason overtime ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – An upper-body injury will sideline Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe the rest of the preseason, the team announced this morning.
“It was in practice yesterday, just light upper body,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said inside KeyBank Center. “We’re expecting him to be good to go for the first league game.”
McCabe, 25, has battled shoulder problems in the past.
In addition to McCabe, four other Sabres defensemen – Zach Bogosian (hip), Matt Hunwick (neck), ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues began examining some information before his arbitration hearing in late July, he learned something interesting.
“Last year, I started in every single position but first-line left wing,” Rodrigues said Monday inside KeyBank Center. “So that kind of shows that I can play in every position. That just speaks to the belief that I have in myself and the belief that I’m a very valuable NHL player.”
Rodrigues’ versatility ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Counting 22 postseason appearances, forward Marcus Johansson played 32 games with the Bruins. The Swede arrived in Boston on Feb. 25 and was gone by July 6, when he signed a two-year, $9 million contract with the Sabres.
But Johansson’s short run with one of the NHL’s model franchises recharged his career.
After battling injuries, including two concussions, with the New Jersey Devils over a season and a half, Johansson played regularly throughout ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Before Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens’ impressive effort in Friday’s preseason loss, the coaching staff marked him down as a possibility to play again in tonight’s rematch against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“There was a good chance he was going to play, but he confirmed it yesterday with what he showed us, and we need one more look here,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said this morning inside KeyBank Center.
Cozens, 18, was one ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Coach Ralph Krueger wants center Dylan Cozens to relax during tonight’s preseason opener. Throughout the recent Prospects Challenge rookie tournament, the Sabres’ top pick often tried to do to much.
“He was trying to be a different-maker every time on the ice,” Krueger said after the Sabres prepared for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The seventh overall pick knows he must calm down a little.
“I can’t be out there trying to dangle everyone and ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Only about 10 Sabres forwards have roster spots locked up, meaning in a training camp filled with competition, the best battles might be taking place up front.
Among the players fighting for the four or so remaining slots are journeymen (Jean-Sebastien Dea, for example), NHL veterans (Vladimir Sobotka) and prized prospects (Victor Olofsson).
Then there’s C.J. Smith, an older (he turns 25 on Dec. 1) and often overlooked ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In just three or four weeks, coach Ralph Krueger would like the Sabres’ brand of hockey to be easily identifiable.
“You underline the fact that we’re playing like this, this is Sabres hockey,” Krueger said Friday following the first sessions of training camp inside KeyBank Center.
That, of course, is no easy task for a new coach, let alone one that inherited a laughingstock.
The Sabres haven’t possessed a positive identity in a ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Following another underwhelming season, it felt like only a matter of time before the Sabres cut their losses and traded winger Alexander Nylander.
Through three years as a pro, Nylander, the eighth overall pick by the Sabres’ old regime in 2016, has mostly been a bust.
Sure, the Swede has occasionally showcased his slick skills. Still, he hasn’t consistently displayed the tenacity to match them.
Nylander, 21, couldn’t develop into a dominant ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres winger Marcus Johansson began his NHL career playing center. When the Washington Capitals needed help there three years ago, he briefly moved back.
So, yes, Johansson, 28, certainly has experience at the position. But the Swede has spent the bulk of his nine-year career skating at left wing.
The Sabres, who signed Johansson to a two-year, $9 million contract on Saturday, need more depth down the middle.
So what role might he ... Read the full article