BUFFALO – After Randy Sexton completed his duties with the Pittsburgh Penguins last month, the veteran executive caught an early flight from the NHL Draft in Chicago to begin his job as one of the Sabres’ new assistant general managers.
Just weeks after winning his second straight Stanley Cup, Sexton was leaving a strong gig as Pittsburgh’s director of amateur scouting. Still, the opportunity to work with his friend, new Sabres GM Jason Botterill, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – As Brendan Guhle watched the Nashville Predators’ recent run to the Stanley Cup final, the Sabres prospect developed an appreciation for their dynamic defense corps, a group coached by Phil Housley.
So when the Sabres named Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman, head coach June 15, Guhle said he was “pretty excited.”... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres locked up one of their restricted free agents today, signing center Johan Larsson to a two-year, $2.95 million contract.
Larsson, 24, compiled six goals and 11 points in 36 games before a dislocated elbow and wrist ended his season Dec. 31. Before getting hurt, Larsson usually pivoted the Sabres’ third line, showcasing a tenacious two-way game.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Lee Smith figured Casey Mittelstadt was simply reacting to Eden Prairie’s emotional, season-ending loss. Once the high school hockey superstar settled down, the coach thought to himself, he would change his mind.
In the moments after Smith’s Eagles lost in the final of the 2016 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament, Mittelstadt, the eighth overall pick by the Sabres on June 23, told Smith he would return for his senior season.... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – Barely a year ago, after 14 seasons with the Americans as an AHL player and assistant coach, Chris Taylor was let go, the victim of new head coach Dan Lambert’s desire to field his own staff.
On Thursday, the Amerks, the Buffalo Sabres’ top affiliate, introduced Taylor as the 32nd head coach in franchise history.
A fired coach, of course, rarely returns to his old team, let alone in a larger role so ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres have hired Davis Payne as the associate coach on new head coach Phil Housley’s staff, the team announced today.
In Payne, Housley, who has never been an NHL head coach, has a top assistant with NHL head coaching experience. Payne led the St. Louis Blues over three seasons from 2009 to 2011.
The 46-year-old most recently served as an assistant with the Los Angeles Kings for five seasons, winning a Stanley ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Benoit Pouliot’s 11th NHL season quickly became his worst. On an upstart Edmonton Oilers team featuring superstar Connor McDavid and loads of other young talent, the veteran winger morphed into a weak link.
The struggles started early in 2016-17 for Pouliot, who signed a one-year, $1.15 million contract with the Sabres on Saturday. On Oct. 16, following one too many penalties, coach Todd McLellan benched him for the final 40 minutes of Edmonton’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres general manager Jason Botterill learned 15 years ago Chris Taylor possessed the qualities to coach someday.
Back then, with Taylor feeding Botterill, the two formed one of the AHL’s most lethal scoring duos. But Taylor adjusted his game when he occasionally earned promotions from the Rochester Americans to the Sabres.... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The Sabres could still add more talent after signing two NHL players and six depth additions early in free agency.
Bringing back 38-year-old captain Brian Gionta is still a possibility, general manager Jason Botterill said Saturday after the market opened. And while Botterill said he feels comfortable with the Sabres’ overall toughness, acquiring more muscle could be a priority.
But after inking goalie Chad Johnson and winger Benoit Pouliot on Saturday, a day ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Some of the faces familiar to Sabres goalie Chad Johnson are gone. Tim Murray, the general manager who originally acquired him, has been fired. So has Dan Bylsma, the coach who played him regularly two seasons ago.
Still, Johnson, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract to return after free agency opened today, feels a certain comfort in Buffalo and believes he has “unfinished business” to make the Sabres a playoff team.... Read the full article