Ryan Johnson played four years at Minnesota. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

After wait, Sabres sign prospect Ryan Johnson to entry-level contract

As each day passed and defense prospect Ryan Johnson moved closer to free agency, it seemed less likely he would sign with the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres spoke to Johnson, the 31st overall pick in 2019, in April after his collegiate season at Minnesota ended and said they wanted to sign him. Then they began waiting.

The ball, general manager Kevyn Adams said last month, was in Johnson’s court.... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo was named Buffalo’s captain Oct. 8. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Kyle Okposo wants Sabres to embrace expectations, set Stanley Cup goal

Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo was about to put his son, Odin, to bed when he received a call that his new one-year, $2.5 million contract had been completed.

Moments later, when Odin walked out to brush his teeth, Okposo told him that he would be playing another season.

“His reaction was worth it,” an emotional Okposo said on a Zoom call Thursday. “Sometimes I forget how much it means to them, especially my older ... Read the full article

Kevyn Adams said last month Buffalo wanted to sign some of its Russian prospects. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres sign Russian prospect Nikita Novikov to entry-level contract

The Buffalo Sabres on Friday signed Russian defenseman Nikita Novikov, a sixth-round pick in 2021, 188th overall, to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Novikov, 19, spent the 2022-23 season in the Kontinental Hockey League, registering two goals, five points and 14 penalty minutes in 62 games for Moscow Dynamo.

The 6-foot-3, 196-pound Novikov has compiled three goals, nine points and 20 penalty minutes in 94 career KHL appearances. Only three KHL defenseman have played more ... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Noah Ostlund 16th overall last year. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Noah Ostlund joins Amerks following Swedish season

Buffalo Sabres prospect Noah Ostlund, the 16th overall pick last year, has joined the Rochester Americans to practice and get a feel for the organization.

The Amerks play the fifth and decisive game of their AHL North Division semifinal series tonight on the road against the Syracuse Crunch. Ostlund, however, likely won’t be participating in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Ostlund, 19, has been battling a foot injury that forced him to miss playoff games ... Read the full article

Tyson Jost joined Buffalo in November. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Tyson Jost hopes he has found home in Buffalo: ‘Really special group’

BUFFALO – Tyson Jost had no idea what to expect here. The center joined the Sabres at their nadir in mid-November, an eight-game losing streak. Having spent his entire career in the Western Conference, he wasn’t familiar with the organization.

Right away, Jost, a waiver claim from the Minnesota Wild, felt at home. The tight-knit group warmly welcomed him. The Sabres ended their skid in his first game and he quickly earned regular duty.

Following ... Read the full article

Kevyn Adams said last month Buffalo wants to sign some of its Russian draft picks. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres sign Russian prospect Viktor Neuchev to entry-level contract

The Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday signed Russian forward Viktor Neuchev, a third-round pick in 2022, 74th overall, to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Neuchev, 19, spent the 2022-23 season in the Kontinental Hockey League, registering four goals, 12 points and 17 penalty minutes in 57 games for Yekaterinburg Automobilist.

The Sabres drafted the 6-foot-2, 165-pound Neuchev after a standout year in which the 40 goals and 67 points he compiled in 61 games led Yekaterinburg’s ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen began the season in Rochester before being recalled to Buffalo. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres wanted Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to develop in Buffalo instead of going to Rochester for playoffs

BUFFALO – In his four-year pro career, Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has never played a postseason game.

The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs two straight years. Last year, Luukkonen suffered an injury late in the regular season and missed the Rochester Americans’ 10-game playoff run.

This year, the Sabres did not make Luukkonen, who started the season in Rochester, available to the Amerks, who open the playoffs Friday.

... Read the full article

Kevyn Adams has talked to his players about why they struggled in Buffalo. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Why did the Sabres have such a poor home record in Buffalo?

BUFFALO – General manager Kevyn Adams has a theory on the Sabres’ home woes this season.

“I feel I’ve asked enough questions that I have a handle on this,” he said during Wednesday’s end-of-season news conference.

The Sabres compiled a ghastly 17-20-4 mark at KeyBank Center. Only four NHL teams – the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks – earned fewer home wins. The Montreal Canadiens equaled the Sabres’ meager ... Read the full article

Devon Levi compiled a 5-2-0 record for Buffalo after leaving college. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Despite using Devon Levi late, Sabres high on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

BUFFALO – In his first days in the NHL, Sabres goalie Devon Levi looked so impressive that coach Don Granato kept riding the neophyte.

Levi, 21, turned heads in his debut March 31, so after starting Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen the next night, Granato utilized the newcomer for five consecutive do-or-die games before the Sabres were eliminated from playoff contention.

The Sabres’ reliance on Levi for a stretch of critical late-season contests raised some eyebrows. The ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres want to re-sign veterans Kyle Okposo, Zemgus Girgensons; Buffalo waiting to hear from Ryan Johnson

BUFFALO – General manager Kevyn Adams wants to give captain Kyle Okposo and alternate captain Zemgus Girgensons, the Sabres’ longest-tenured player, time to decompress following a long season.

When the time is right, Adams plans to talk to the veterans, both of whom can become unrestricted free agents this summer, about returning to the Sabres.

“I want them back,” he said during Wednesday’s end-of-season news conference in KeyBank Center.

Okposo, 35, and Girgensons, 29, helped ... Read the full article