Evander Kane scored a team-high 28 goals this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Strong season gives Sabres’ Evander Kane value

BUFFALO – Barely a year ago, as rumors swirled the Sabres wanted to trade Evander Kane, the same question kept popping up: did the enigmatic winger possess any real value?

Kane, 25, wasn’t just coming off a disappointing 20-goal season in 2015-16. Off the ice, he partied in Toronto and missed practice, earning a one-game benching. Then in June, with the team hosting the NHL Draft, Kane was arrested.

Combine his limited production and ... Read the full article

Jonas Johansson closed the season in Rochester. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie prospect Jonas Johansson learning North American game

ROCHESTER – With the Buffalo Sabres boasting some of hockey’s best goalie prospects, it can be easy for Jonas Johansson to get overlooked.

After all, Linus Ullmark morphed into one of the AHL best goalies this season, becoming the Rochester Americans’ backbone and MVP. Two years into his North American career, the Swede looks ready to graduate to Buffalo.

The Sabres also own the rights to Notre Dame junior Cal Petersen, one of the ... Read the full article

Ryan O'Reilly wants to improve his own play and be a better leader. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly frustrated after ‘terrible season’

BUFFALO – On the surface, Ryan O’Reilly’s season looks decent enough. In 72 games, the center compiled 20 goals and 55 points, numbers that ranked third and second on the Sabres, respectively.

But O’Reilly, as fans here have learned throughout his two seasons, never seems content. He always expects more of himself.... Read the full article

A lower-back bruise limited Dmitry Kulikov all season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres saw late glimpses of Dmitry Kulikov’s talents

BUFFALO – Three weeks ago, after months of waiting, Sabres general manager Tim Murray finally caught some glimpses of defenseman Dmitry Kulikov’s slick talents.

First, manning a point on the power play, Kulikov fed Jack Eichel a “perfect one-time pass right on the tape,” Murray said.

“Right where it should be, and it’s a goal,” he said Wednesday during his end-of-season news conference inside KeyBank Center.... Read the full article

Tim Murray talks Wednesday. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Tim Murray takes responsibility for Sabres’ failed season

BUFFALO – Right now, just days after the Sabres ended another disappointing season in last place, Dan Bylsma is still his coach, general manager Tim Murray said.

“He’s my coach today, I’m the general manager today,” Murray said Wednesday during his end-of-season news conference inside KeyBank Center. “There’s a review top to bottom. I have to meet with ownership next week in Florida. I’m sure I’ll be reviewed, I’m sure I’m being reviewed right now, ... Read the full article

The Sabres can negotiate a new contract with Jack Eichel on July 1. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want to pursue contract extension for Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – When Tim Murray spoke to Jack Eichel on Wednesday, the general manager told his young star the Sabres would improve after a last-place finish.

“I made the promise to him that I would do the best that I could to make the team around him better and that we would be a longtime playoff team,” Murray said of his exit meeting with Eichel.

Eichel, 20, hasn’t handled the Sabres’ struggles well. The center ... Read the full article

Tim Murray talks this afternoon. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Tim Murray apologizes for Sabres’ poor season

BUFFALO – For now, after the Sabres’ disappointing last-place finish, Dan Bylsma is still coach, general manager Tim Murray said.

“He’s my coach today, I’m the general manager today,” Murray said this afternoon during his end-of-season news conference inside KeyBank Center. “There’s a review top to bottom. I have to meet with ownership next week in Florida. I’m sure I’ll be reviewed, I’m sure I’m being reviewed right now, as I should be.”

What does ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson played 36 games this season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Johan Larsson’s absence hurt Sabres

BUFFALO – When center Johan Larsson suffered two season-ending dislocations New Year’s Eve, the Sabres quietly experienced a critical blow to their playoff hopes.

While the absences of some higher-profile forwards – Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo, for example – garnered more attention, the Sabres struggled to replace Larsson’s tenacious two-way game.

Without Larsson, who dislocated his elbow and wrist, the Sabres became a “different team,” said Marcus Foligno, the Swede’s regular winger on ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo only played two games after March 2. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres missed Kyle Okposo’s leadership

BUFFALO – How valuable is Kyle Okposo to the Sabres? They went 4-11-1 without the winger in his first season here. After a mysterious illness sidelined him late, they closed the disappointing campaign 1-5.

Okposo was discharged from the Neuro Surgical ICU at Buffalo General Hospital on Friday, according to WIVB.

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma had no update on Okposo, 28, on Monday.

On the ice, Okposo compiled 19 goals and 45 points in ... Read the full article

Dan Bylmsa could have an ultimatum next season. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Dan Bylsma, players take blame for Sabres’ poor season

BUFFALO – Two seasons removed from a deep rebuild, the Sabres never expected to be a Stanley Cup contender, coach Dan Bylsma said.

Still, they never thought they would rank among the NHL’s bottom-feeders again.

Instead of building off their 27-point improvement in 2015-16, they imploded down the stretch this season, finishing last in the Atlantic Division and missing the playoffs – their big goal – by a whopping 17 points.... Read the full article