Phil Housley likes Marco Scandella’s talents. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Phil Housley likes defense, plans to lean on Marco Scandella

BUFFALO – In a two-week span last month, general manager Jason Botterill addressed the Sabres’ most glaring weakness by acquiring defensemen Nathan Beaulieu and Marco Scandella.

Is either player elite? Hardly. Still, as puck-moving defenders, Beaulieu and Scandella offer talents the Sabres sorely lacked last season and add some much-needed depth.... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund was a second-round pick in 2016. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Report: Sabres prospect Rasmus Asplund to stay in Sweden next season

Rasmus Asplund, perhaps the Buffalo Sabres’ top center prospect, will play in Sweden again next season.

The Sabres, who recently hired general manager Jason Botterill and still need to find a coach, want contract flexibility, Asplund, 19, told Värmlands Folkblad, a Swedish news service.

So the 33rd overall pick in 2016 will play a fourth pro season with Färjestad BK, a team in the Swedish Hockey League.... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund has already played two seasons of pro hockey. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Photo: Sabres prospect Rasmus Asplund captaining Sweden

Where will Buffalo Sabres prospect Rasmus Asplund end up next season?

Asplund, the 33rd overall pick June 25, has already played two seasons of professional hockey at home. The talented center could return to the Swedish Hockey League in 2016-17. Or he could skate in North America, either with the Sabres or their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.

Wherever Asplund, 18, plays, there’s a good chance he’ll be leaving in December for the world ... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund left junior hockey almost two years ago. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Pro experience helped Sabres prospect Rasmus Asplund develop

BUFFALO – Almost two years ago, in the midst of a high-scoring junior season, Rasmus Asplund’s success forced the Sabres prospect to “start from scratch,” he said.

Asplund had already scored 25 points in 19 games when Färjestad BK, a team in the Swedish Hockey League, the country’s highest pro circuit, recalled the center.

That meant Asplund, then just 16 years old, would start competing against men.

“It’s a different type of game when you ... Read the full article

Dmitri Kulikov fills a big need for the Sabres. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want to pursue Steven Stamkos

BUFFALO – In acquiring Dmitry Kulikov from the Florida Panthers on Saturday morning, the Sabres added the versatile, left-handed defenseman they coveted and filled perhaps their biggest need.

“We have a need for a left-shot D,” Sabres general manager Tim Murray said after the NHL Draft ended.

There are, of course, other holes, including up front, where the Sabres must add more scoring, either through trades or free agency.

“The best that are available at ... Read the full article

Sabres draft pick Rasmus Asplund (left) walks Saturday with Chris Bandura, the team’s director of media relations. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Swapping picks allows Sabres to draft Rasmus Asplund

BUFFALO – The trade was almost complete. The Sabres and Florida Panthers had agreed to swap defensemen Mark Pysyk and Dmitry Kulikov as the main components.

But the sides hadn’t worked out draft picks yet. Originally, general manager Tim Murray wanted to give the Sabres’ first third-round pick, 69th overall, to his counterpart, Tom Rowe, at the NHL Draft.

Murray went back to Rowe on Saturday morning and offered his last third-rounder, 89th... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund played with Alexander Nylander is Sweden. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres pick Rasmus Asplund shares chemistry with Alexander Nylander

BUFFALO – Early in the winter at the world junior championship, NHL Draft prospect Rasmus Asplund centered Alexander Nylander, the winger the Sabres drafted eighth overall Friday.

Clearly, the Sabres liked the chemistry the two showcased together representing Sweden, as they drafted Asplund, 18, with the 33rd pick this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

“He was one of the guys I had the best chemistry with in my whole career,” an excited ... Read the full article

Dmitri Kulikov is a left-handed defenseman. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres trade Mark Pysyk, picks to Panthers for Dmitry Kulikov

BUFFALO – The Sabres swapped defensemen and draft picks with the Florida Panthers this morning, trading Mark Pysyk and the 38th and 89th selections to the Florida Panthers for Dmitry Kulikov and the 33rd pick.

The Sabres used that selection to take Swedish center Rasmus Asplund, who centered Alexander Nylander, the eighth overall pick by Buffalo, at the world junior championship.

Kulikov, 25, could be the left-handed defenseman Sabres general manager ... Read the full article