Nikita Zadorov has endured a rough season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres notes: Avalanche NHL’s worst

BUFFALO – The ineptitude of some of the worst NHL teams this century – the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers and the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabres, for example – can easily be explained.

Yes, the Thrashers were terrible even by low expansion standards, earning only 39 points. But it was their first year. What can you expect?

The Sabres mustered 52 and 54 points because they fielded weak teams and sold off their best assets to secure ... Read the full article

Patrick Kaleta is keeping the door open to playing again. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Patrick Kaleta excited for off-ice job with Sabres, not retired yet

BUFFALO – For the last “crazy” little while, Patrick Kaleta said, when fans spot him around town, they greet the former Sabres agitator with the same questions.

“People see me, they say, ‘What are you doing here? Your team is practicing. Your team is playing,’” Kaleta told the Times Herald on Monday.

The affable Kaleta, who played 348 games with the Sabres, said he smiles and tells them he has a new job with ... Read the full article

Rasmus Ristolainen has been a strong pick for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ recent drafts have yielded potential high-end talent

BUFFALO – To thrive in the modern NHL, teams must build through the draft. It’s that simple. The days of loading up with veteran players through free agency or trades are long gone. The league belongs to the 20-somethings now, and if teams draft poorly, they’re doomed.

How good are the Sabres at drafting? Judge for yourself below. Since drafts usually don’t start paying dividends for a few years, here’s a look at their selections ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly was arrested just days after signing the largest contract in Sabres history. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Strong words already haunting Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly

In Ryan O’Reilly’s first comments after the Sabres acquired him, the center discussed his desire to assume a leadership role in Buffalo.

Those words – “With the Sabres I have to be a more vocal guy, be that more off-ice leader and on-ice as well,” he said June 29 – are already haunting the 24-year-old.

Ten days after speaking and just six days after signing a seven-year, $52.5 million contract, O’Reilly was arrested and ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly was arrested Thursday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly charged with impaired driving, leaving scene of accident

Just days after signing a seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension, Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly was arrested Thursday and charged with impaired driving and leaving the scene of an accident after his pickup truck allegedly hit a Tim Hortons in Lucan, Ont.

The incident, which occurred at 4:05 a.m., was announced by the Ontario Provincial Police’s Middlesex County unit Monday night. CFPL-AM first reported the news earlier in the day.

The 24-year-old O’Reilly, who signed ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly's contract kicks in for 2016-17. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Ryan O’Reilly to 7-year, $52.5 million contract extension

BUFFALO – That didn’t take long. A week after the Sabres acquired Ryan O’Reilly in a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Avalanche, they locked up their new No. 1 center with a max deal Friday, a whopping seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension.

It’s the biggest contract in franchise history, surpassing the seven-year, $50 million deal the Sabres gave winger Thomas Vanek in 2007 when they matched the Edmonton Oilers’ offer sheet.

The contract has a ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly was acquired a week ago. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Ryan O’Reilly to massive contract extension

BUFFALO – That didn’t take long. A week after the Sabres acquired Ryan O’Reilly in a blockbuster trade with the Colorado Avalanche, they locked up their new No. 1 center today with a max deal, a whopping seven-year, $52.5 million contract extension.

That’s an average annual value of $7.5 million.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who tweeted the contract’s value, O’Reilly’s salary will be $1 million per season. The rest will be paid via a ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly sees a bright future in Buffalo. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ryan O’Reilly wants leadership role with Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly’s ready to tackle a new challenge. During his first six NHL seasons, the 24-year-old wasn’t viewed as one of the Avalanche’s leaders. Colorado stars Matt Duchesne, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon often overshadowed him.

But O’Reilly, acquired in a blockbuster deal Friday at the NHL Draft, will have a new role next season. The Sabres want him to be one of the guys to shepherd a team filled with ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson scored six goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Awful season costs Cody Hodgson job with Sabres

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s Sabres career is over.

The team put the struggling winger on unconditional waivers Monday, meaning the final four seasons of his six-year, $25.5 million contract will be bought out for one-third the remaining value since he’s under 26 years old.

The Sabres owe him $6.333 million over the next eight years, money that will count against the salary cap until 2022-23, according to generalfanager.com. They must absorb a $1,041,666 hit ... Read the full article

Cody Hodgson struggled throughout 2014-15. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres waive Cody Hodgson for buyout

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s Sabres career is over.

The team put the struggling winger on unconditional waivers today, meaning the final four seasons of his six-year, $25.5 million contract will be bought out for one-third the remaining value.

The 25-year-old endured perhaps the worst year of any NHL forward in 2014-15, mustering only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, a stunning 14-goal, 31-point drop in six more appearances.

Hodgson scored one goal ... Read the full article