John Hayden played for three teams before joining Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

John Hayden hoping ‘Swiss Army Knife’ style helps him crack Sabres’ lineup

BUFFALO – Over the past three seasons, winger John Hayden bounced around the NHL, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes before signing a one-year, two-way contract with the Sabres.

Hayden, 26, has usually served as a fourth-liner or an extra forward, never playing more than 54 games in a season. Still, he has stayed put in the NHL. Other than a 37-game stint in 2017-18, his first full pro season, ... Read the full article

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby began his North American career in Hershey. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby thrilled to join Sabres, sees opportunities

BUFFALO – After the Washington Capitals demoted Axel Jonsson-Fjallby earlier this week, he began preparing for his fourth season with the Hershey Bears.

Jonsson-Fjallby, who had to clear waivers to join the AHL team, traveled to Pennsylvania and found an apartment Monday. He and his girlfriend were driving to pick up furniture when he learned the Sabres had claimed him off waivers.

“At first, I couldn’t really believe it,” an excited Jonsson-Fjallby said Tuesday in ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played two preseason games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen enjoyed ‘great’ training camp

BUFFALO – On the surface, goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s preseason looks disappointing. Instead of forcing the Sabres to keep him, they demoted the Finn to the minors 10 days before opening night.

Luukkonen, 22, compiled a 0-2-0 record in two starts, allowing five goals in each game.

Still, coach Don Granato said Luukkonen, one of seven players the Sabres sent to the Rochester Americans on Tuesday, enjoyed “a great camp.”

“In a progressive way,” Granato ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski played 13 games for Buffalo last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Dustin Tokarski to start; J-J Peterka, Jack Quinn earn another look

BUFFALO – Very quietly, Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski has enjoyed a stellar training camp, allowing just one goal in nearly 53 minutes of preseason action.

Tokarski, 32, has outplayed newcomer Aaron Dell in the competition for the backup job behind Craig Anderson.

Tokarski will start tonight’s road exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Penguins before Dell relieves him. Another strong outing by Tokarski could cement a roster spot.

Earlier today, the Sabres sent top goalie ... Read the full article

Tage Thompson played center Monday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Tage Thompson working to unleash ‘incredible potential’

BUFFALO – Over his 145-game NHL career, Sabres forward Tage Thompson has only showcased glimpses of what coach Don Granato called his “incredible potential.”

“Which is different than actual potential,” Granato said prior to Monday’s 5-3 preseason loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “He can do things in moments but we need him to sustain more and to do it more consistently.”

Thompson, 23, has enjoyed little consistency over his three years here, often getting ... Read the full article

Buffalo rookie J-J Peterka scored in his preseason debut. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ J-J Peterka, Linus Weissbach earn chance in veteran lineup

BUFFALO – Tonight’s lineup resembles one the Sabres could use during the regular season. At least 16 of the 20 players will likely be on the opening night roster.

But among all the established talent the Sabres will dress, three rookies – goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and wingers J-J Peterka and Linus Weissbach – earned a spot.

Sabres coach Don Granato said Luukkonen, 22, will start tonight and play the entire preseason game against the Columbus ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk spent his first four NHL seasons in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Mark Pysyk enjoying return to Sabres: ‘Going to be a fun team to watch’

BUFFALO – Sometimes, Mark Pysyk said, it seems like he only left the Sabres a week ago. Other times, however, he acknowledged it feels like it has been a long time.

The Sabres, who signed a one-year, $900,000 contract to return, left in 2016. Only one teammate from the affable defenseman’s first run here, center Zemgus Girgensons, is still with the team.

“I see him walking around, the way he plays, his body takes a ... Read the full article

J-J Peterka scored late in Tuesday’s win. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

J-J Peterka, Jack Quinn showcase skills in Sabres’ come-from-behind win

Buffalo Sabres prospect J-J Peterka couldn’t stop smiling.

Yes, he had only experienced a preseason victory. And his late goal in Tuesday’s come-from-behind, 5-4 shootout triumph doesn’t officially count in the record books.

Still, for Peterka, linemate Jack Quinn and the other youngsters who buoyed the Sabres to an unlikely win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the exhibition opener likely holds a lot of meaning.

The Sabres roared back in the third period, erasing a ... Read the full article

Jack Quinn will play right wing tonight. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres to utilize line of Dylan Cozens, J-J Peterka and Jack Quinn

BUFFALO – In a year or two, after  wingers J-J Peterka and Jack Quinn acclimate to pro hockey, they could flank center Dylan Cozens on the Sabres’ No. 1 trio.

But right now, the intriguing line is simply an experiment for tonight’s preseason opener in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. Instead of putting the talented youngsters beside veterans, Sabres coach Don Granato wants them to learn on their own.

While Cozens, 20, played 41 NHL ... Read the full article

J-J Peterka arrived in Buffalo on Saturday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect J-J Peterka thrilled to finally be in Buffalo: ‘He’s buzzing’

BUFFALO – Finally, after 10 months of waiting, Sabres prospect J-J Peterka was set to leave Germany and travel here to prepare for his first NHL training camp.

In normal times, of course, Peterka, 19, probably would’ve visited Buffalo two or three times over the last year. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the winger to stay home.

“I was so curious about it, so excited the whole last year,” a smiling Peterka said following Wednesday’s ... Read the full article