Linus Ullmark enjoyed a stellar season on a bad team in 2020-21. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Losing top goalie Linus Ullmark in free agency would be huge blow to Sabres

The days of the Sabres trying to lure big-name free agents to Buffalo are over. When the market opens today, they’ll likely be bit players, focusing on filling some of their many holes and adding depth while attempting to re-sign goalie Linus Ullmark.

Ullmark’s departure would be a massive blow to the Sabres. The Swede, their backbone and MVP, earned nine of the team’s 15 wins last season in only 20 outings.

They don’t ... Read the full article

Don Granato quickly learned about the passion for the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Coach Don Granato wants to keep instilling pride in Sabres

It was Sept. 1, 2019, and Don Granato, one of the Buffalo Sabres’ new assistant coaches, was wandering the halls of Park Country Club in Williamsville looking for the banquet room.

Granato had been invited to the team’s annual alumni golf outing, and before everyone hit the course, they gathered for a meeting. When Granato found the room and sneaked in through a back door, the number of alumni in attendance shocked him.

“I ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt could be Buffalo’s top center next season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ top young players excited for future: ‘Got a real good group here’

The contrast was stark. A day after Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen all essentially said they’d welcome a change of scenery after enduring years of losing and turmoil, several of the Sabres’ top young players spoke optimistically about their futures in Buffalo.

“Nothing but excitement,” winger Tage Thompson, 23, said on a Zoom call Tuesday as the Sabres held end-of-season meetings inside KeyBank Center after finishing dead last. “Obviously, we have ... Read the full article

Anders Bjork has played 13 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Anders Bjork feeling comfortable with Sabres, earns promotion to top line

BUFFALO – In a 14-minute stretch Tuesday, Sabres newcomer Anders Bjork erased the New York Islanders’ lead, scoring two goals.

First, Bjork redirected defenseman Colin Miller’s point shot past Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin late in the second period. Then Bjork scored from the right circle 10:56 into the third period, tying a game the Sabres would win 4-3 in a shootout.

What do both goals have in common? Bjork, 24, created them by tenaciously ... Read the full article

Drake Caggiulla has started finding a groove in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Drake Caggiula excited for opportunity with Sabres, moving up lineup

Having played for four teams in three seasons, Buffalo Sabres winger Drake Caggiula understands how fleeting opportunities can be in the NHL.

Caggiula, a prized college free agent in 2016, has bounced around since the Edmonton Oilers traded him in December 2018, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes before the Sabres claimed him off waivers April 9.

The North Dakota product lasted only 27 games with the Coyotes after signing a one-year contract.... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens has two career NHL fights. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens wants to use fights as tool to ignite own game

Over the past couple of games, Buffalo Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens said he has been battling the puck and unable to find any rhythm.

So when an opportunity materialized late in Tuesday’s 3-1 road loss to the New York Rangers to stick up for a teammate and fight Kevin Rooney after he boarded Drake Caggiula, Cozens pounced on it.

“The hit didn’t look too good and I wasn’t too happy with my own play ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen has quickly earned regular duty in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Arttu Ruotsalainen scoring, earning keep in NHL

When Don Granato arrived in Buffalo as an assistant in 2019, the idea of someday coaching a relatively unknown Sabres prospect named Arttu Ruotsalainen intrigued him.

Granato, now Buffalo’s interim coach, only watched Ruotsalainen, 23, up close for a few weeks in training camp. The Finn’s contract stipulated he had to return to Ilves, his Liiga team, if he did not make the Sabres last season.

Still, Granato’s brief time around the 5-foot-9, 185-pound ... Read the full article

Buffalo’s Victor Olofsson and Boston’s Jeremy Lauzon battle Thursday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ awful power play costs them in loss to Bruins: ‘It’s frustrating’

BUFFALO – At least the Sabres have started drawing penalties. At various times over the past two months, simply getting a man advantage was an accomplishment.

In Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, the Sabres enjoyed five power plays. In Tuesday’s 2-0 setback to the Bruins, they had six.

The Sabres have consistently moved their feet and played aggressively to force the Bruins into taking infractions.

They just can’t convert their opportunities. They’re zero ... Read the full article

Dylan Cozens had a terrific chance to tie Tuesday’s game early. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Bruins show Sabres how they must compete: ‘We need to elevate’

BUFFALO – Just over 13 minutes into Tuesday’s 2-0 loss, Sabres winger Dylan Cozens grabbed a pass at the bottom of the right circle with goalie Tuukka Rask seemingly out of position to stop the puck.

But a desperate Rask recovered enough to get his glove, which was behind his back, on the puck to stop it. The save, perhaps one of the NHL’s best this season, kept the Boston Bruins up 1-0.

“It was ... Read the full article

Dustin Tokarski made 34 saves Sunday afternoon. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Dustin Tokarski looks sharp with little rest, helps Sabres beat Penguins

BUFFALO – Having played goalie into his mid-teens before switching to forward, interim Sabres coach Don Granato possesses a strong understanding of the unique position.

Granato knows the strain of playing back-to-back days often affects the goalie’s focus and other subtleties in his game. He might, for example, have trouble playing his angles or handling rebounds.

But in Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, goalie Dustin Tokarski looked sharper than he did a ... Read the full article