In past years, a slew of former Buffalo Sabres had difficulty finding work in free agency.
With few suitors on the open market, some settled for training camp tryouts while others went overseas or never played again.
So far this offseason, seven players who spent time in Buffalo last season have quickly landed new NHL contracts. Here’s an update:
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BUFFALO – The Sabres possess a stable of strong goaltending prospects.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, a Finn labeled as the Sabres’ goalie of the future, has looked impressive in his limited NHL action. While he has battled injuries and struggled at times in the minors, he’s still a terrific young talent.
The Sabres also boast Devon Levi, the NCAA’s top goalie last season at Northeastern, and drafted Topias Leinonen in the second round on Friday, ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – By the end of the season, after five months of regular duty, Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk morphed into a spare part.
Down the stretch, the Sabres utilized a blue line comprised entirely of youngsters – Casey Fitzgerald, at just 25, was the oldest defenseman – so Pysyk, Will Butcher and Colin Miller rarely played.
The Sabres scratched Pysyk 13 times over a 22-game stretch, including eight straight contests, before he returned for last ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Opponents detest Jeff Skinner, one of the NHL’s foremost pests. The Sabres winger has a knack for getting under their skin, whether it be by running his mouth, relentlessly hounding the puck or scoring goals.
“He’s one of my best friends and I’m pretty sure I would hate his guts on the other side,” Sabres winger Casey Mittelstadt said after Skinner agitated the New York Islanders and scored late in Saturday afternoon’s ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres center Tage Thompson had time and space, so he leaned into his shot, and when the puck hit teammate Kyle Okposo inside his right knee, he went down in a hurry.
As Okposo hobbled off the ice in pain late in Saturday’s first period, it felt like his night might’ve been finished. At that point, the Sabres trailed the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0, and Okposo, who turned 34 on Saturday, said he was ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In Friday’s practice, Sabres coach Don Granato changed every forward line, tinkering with trios that have recently developed chemistry and enjoyed success.
Granato often explains how he wants his lineup to become interchangeable. While he showcases more patience than most coaches – lines and defense pairs sometimes stay intact for weeks – he’s not afraid to experiment within games or try new things.
So for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers at KeyBank ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres center Tage Thompson acknowledged that, yes, the Stanley Cup that Ryan O’Reilly won in 2019, his first season in St. Louis, is always in the back of his mind.
“But at the same time, it doesn’t change my objective,” Thompson said prior to Thursday’s 6-2 loss to the Blues, his former team, at KeyBank Center. “My objective is to come here and help our team win and help any way I can ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, who briefly left Tuesday’s 5-2 win after blocking a shot, is questionable for tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues with a lower-body injury, coach Don Granato said.
“Mattias is hour to hour, day to day,” Granato said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “He could potentially still (play). We can’t rule him out for tonight, but it’s day to day if he’s not in there tonight.”
Update: Samuelsson ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Winger Alex Tuch figures the Sabres set some sort of record in Tuesday’s 5-2 road win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“It’s got to be the youngest D corps to ever step on the ice tonight, I feel like,” Tuch said after defenseman Owen Power, 19, made his NHL debut in Scotiabank Arena. “The oldest guy’s Casey Fitzgerald at 25.”
Incredibly, the average age of the Sabres’ defense in Tuesday’s contest ... Read the full article
TORONTO – Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has ascended to a new level of superstardom this season, scoring an NHL-high 58 goals in 68 outings.
Matthews, who was held pointless in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, recently became the first player since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 to score 50 goals over a 50-game stretch. Matthews is on pace to score 66 times this season, a number that hasn’t been reached since Lemieux scored ... Read the full article