On with the summer

Forme Sabres president Ted Black (right) sits at the team's draft table last month with scout Jerry Forton. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On Russ Brandon’s drive to the rink to discuss his new role as Sabres president and alternate governor, a job he was awarded Monday in addition to his gig as managing partner and president of the Buffalo Bills, he reflected back to a year ago, when the NFL club’s future here was shaky.

Back then, Brandon was focused on finding a viable owner for the Bills. Terry and Kim Pegula’s interest in the team, which they eventually bought for …

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Brendan Guhle turns 18 years old Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have signed defenseman Brendan Guhle, the 51st overall pick last month, to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Monday.

The 6-foot-1, 186-pound Guhle, the Sabres’ next pick after they drafted center Jack Eichel No. 2, will turn 18 years old Wednesday. The second-rounder had five goals, 32 points and 36 penalty minutes in 72 games last season with the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders.

Guhle will almost certainly return to the WHL next season.

Related: Sabres draft …

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Ted Black joined the Sabres in 2011. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres today named Russ Brandon team president and announced former president Ted Black and the organization had “mutually agreed to part ways.”

Brandon, the managing partner and president of the Buffalo Bills, a team also owned by Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, will oversee all aspects of the business operations for both teams and report directly to the Pegulas.

“Since we purchased the Buffalo Bills last October, we have been highly impressed with the business acumen that Russ …

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Zenon Konopka smiles Wednesday outside the Northtown Center. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
8

AMHERST – In January, when the NHL lifted Zenon Konopka’s shocking 20-game performance-enhancing drug suspension, the former Buffalo Sabres center briefly went to Poland, where his father was born, to see if he could still play.

For months, Konopka, a free agent, had shut hockey out of his life. The 34-year-old instead buried himself in his ZK28 wine line and other businesses. But by the winter, he began to understand how much he missed the sport he had fought so hard …

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Jerry D'Amigo played nine games with the Sabres last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres re-signed winger Jerry D’Amigo, their last restricted free agent, to a one-year, two-way contract today.

D’Amigo played nine games with the Sabres last season, compiling zero points and four penalty minutes. The 24-year-old Binghamton native will likely begin next season in Rochester, where he had six goals and 19 points in 31 games with the AHL Americans in 2014-15.

The Sabres acquired D’Amigo from the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Luke Adam on Dec. 16. D’Amigo, the 158th …

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Johan Larsson (22) battles Pittsburgh's Ben Lovejoy for the puck April 11. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed center Johan Larsson to a one-year, $800,000 contract, according to a Swedish newspaper report.

The Sabres now only have one unsigned restricted free agent, winger Jerry D’Amigo.

Larsson finished last season as the Sabres’ No. 1 center, scoring four goals and 14 points in his final 20 games. The 22-year-old Swede, however, struggled earlier when he played on checking lines. He scored six goals and 16 points in 39 total NHL games last season. He also …

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Tim Schaller played 18 games with the Sabres last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – Forward Tim Schaller, defenseman Jerome Leduc and goalie Nathan Lieuwen all signed their qualifying offers from the Sabres today.

The three are likely ticketed for the AHL Rochester Americans again.

Schaller, 24, had one goal and two points in 18 games with the Sabres last season and 15 goals and 43 points in 65 contests with the Amerks.

Leduc, 22, had six goals and 25 points in 76 games with the Amerks last season.

Lieuwen, 23, went 4-9 with a 3.29 goals-against …

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Devante Stephens already knows Sabres coach Dan Bylsma. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
2

BUFFALO – Familiarity and comfort surrounded Sabres defense prospect Devante Stephens throughout development camp last week.

New Sabres assistant Dan Lambert, Stephens’ junior coach with the Kelowna Rockets, was on the ice putting the youngsters through drills. Meanwhile, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma, who had just hired Lambert, his friend, was up in the stands watching.

Bylsma already knew Stephens well, having spent almost a week last season helping out Lambert, a former teammate. During Bylsma’s short stint working with the Western Hockey …

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Ryan O'Reilly was arrested just days after signing the largest contract in Sabres history. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

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 charged with impaired driving and leaving the scene …

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Mark Pysyk played only seven NHL games last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
By Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
0

BUFFALO – The Sabres re-signed defenseman Mark Pysyk to two-year contract worth $2.25 million Tuesday.

Pysyk, who was a restricted free agent, is expected to be a regular next season after playing only seven NHL games in 2014-15.

The 23-year-old will receive $1 million in 2015-16 and $1.25 million in 2016-17, according to CBC’s Tim Wharnsby. He had an $810,000 NHL salary last season.

Despite some strong play as an NHL regular two seasons ago, the Sabres kept Pysyk with the Rochester Americans …

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