Jerry Forton ran his first NHL Draft as Buffalo’s director of amateur scouting. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Why did Sabres suddenly focus on Russians during NHL Draft?

BUFFALO – You had to go back five years and 34 picks to find the last time the Sabres drafted a Russian.

Before they selected winger Prokhor Poltapov 33rd overall Saturday, they hadn’t drafted a Russian since winger Vasily Glotov in the seventh round in 2016.

Poltapov’s selection was harbinger. The Sabres used three straight picks on Russians and took four overall Saturday.

Later in the second round, the Sabres drafted winger Aleksandr Kisakov with ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was Buffalo’s backbone last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Linus Ullmark, Jake McCabe could leave Sabres in free agency

BUFFALO – Throughout the offseason, the Sabres have stayed in regular contact with Linus Ullmark’s agent and stressed they want the Swede to be their No. 1 goalie.

The Sabres sorely need Ullmark, their backbone and team MVP. While prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked impressive in limited NHL action late last season, he’s ticketed to return to the minors for more seasoning.

They don’t have another netminder in the pipeline ready to assume the starting job.... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Sam Reinhart second overall in 2014. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Moving on: Sam Reinhart, Sabres knew it was time for trade

BUFFALO – For years, center Sam Reinhart wanted to sign a long-term contract with the Sabres, the team that drafted him second overall in 2014.

But when Reinhart’s entry-level contract expired in 2018, he only received a two-year deal. Last year, he settled for a one-year contract from the Sabres’ new regime.

Then the Sabres endured a miserable 2020-21 season, finishing dead last. Reinhart, one of their only bright spots, grew more frustrated as the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel hasn’t played since March 7. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Kevyn Adams would have ‘no problem’ if Jack Eichel starts season on Sabres

BUFFALO – As expected, general manager Kevyn Adams began overhauling the Sabres around the NHL Draft, trading center Sam Reinhart and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. For now, disgruntled captain Jack Eichel is still on the team.

Eichel, of course, is expected to be dealt this summer. But what if a trade doesn’t materialize? Dealing him is extremely complicated. The ultra-talented center has a herniated disc in his neck, five years left on his contract and ... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Sam Reinhart second overall in 2014. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres trade Sam Reinhart to Panthers, receive goalie, high pick

BUFFALO – In Sam Reinhart, the Sabres possessed a five-time 20-goal scorer entering his prime.

This afternoon, the Sabres traded Reinhart, 25, to the Florida Panthers in exchange for goalie prospect Devon Levi and a 2022 first-round pick.

So for a center fresh off scoring a team-high 25 goals and 40 points in 54 games, the Sabres did not receive a roster player.

Reports surfaced late Friday night Reinhart was being traded to the Panthers ... Read the full article

The Sabres have nine picks today. ©2021, NHL

2021 Sabres NHL Draft tracker: Buffalo selects Prokhor Poltapov

BUFFALO – The Sabres drafted Russian winger Prokhor Poltapov with the first pick of the second round, 33rd overall, this morning at the NHL Draft.

The 5-foot-11, 174-pound Poltapov, 18, recorded 25 goals and 52 points in 61 games last season with Krasnaya Armiya Moskva, a junior team in the MHL. Poltapov also registered two goals and seven points in seven contests for Team Russia at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship.

He also played one ... Read the full article

Sam Reinhart was the second overall pick in 2014. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Kevyn Adams won’t confirm reports Sabres traded Sam Reinhart

BUFFALO – After trading Rasmus Ristolainen and making the first and 14th overall selections at the NHL Draft on Friday, general manager Kevyn Adams apparently wasn’t done overhauling the Sabres.

Late Friday, shortly after the first round ended, the Sabres dealt center Sam Reinhart to the Florida Panthers, pending a trade call, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun also reported Reinhart was being moved. The return was unclear.

But when Adams walked ... Read the full article

Owen Power talks to the media Friday. ©2021

Owen Power thrilled to be drafted by Sabres: ‘I was kind of hoping’

BUFFALO – On Friday night, 60 family members and friends gathered in the backyard at Owen Power’s aunt’s house in Burlington, Ontario, to celebrate and support the 18-year-old.

Since the Sabres won the draft lottery seven weeks ago, it was assumed they would select Power first overall at Friday’s NHL Draft.

Still, Power, a Michigan defenseman, said he did not know the Sabres would take him until general manager Kevyn Adams announced the pick from ... Read the full article

Ramsus Ristolainen has never played an NHL playoff game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ex-Sabre Rasmus Ristolainen welcomes fresh start after trade to Flyers

BUFFALO – In defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s first eight seasons, the Sabres morphed into the NHL’s laughingstock, finishing dead last four times and winning barely one-third of their games.

The constant losing and turmoil – Ristolainen played for a whopping six coaches and four general mangers, stunning numbers that illustrate the Sabres’ futility – wore on him. The straight-shooting Finn often voiced his frustration.

On Friday afternoon, hours before the Sabres picked Michigan defenseman Owen Power... Read the full article

Isak Rosen played pro and junior hockey last season. ©2021, NHL

Sabres select Swedish winger Isak Rosen 14th overall at NHL Draft

BUFFALO – The Sabres selected Swedish winger Isak Rosen 14th overall tonight at the NHL Draft.

The 5-foot-11, 156-pound Rosen, 18, ranked eighth on NHL Central Scouting’s final list of 2021 European skaters.

Rosen spent the 2020-21 season with Leksands IF in the Swedish Hockey League and their junior team, registering zero goals and one assist in 22 games with the big club and seven goals and 12 points in 12 contests in junior.... Read the full article