Jack Eichel just completed a 57-point season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Report: Sabres start contract extension discussions with Jack Eichel

The Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel’s camp have started “preliminary discussions” about a contract extension for the star center, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The 20-year-old has one year with a base salary of $925,000 left on his entry-level deal. He can’t sign an extension until July 1.

If superstar Connor McDavid’s reported new contract – an eight-year deal with an average annual value of $13.25 million – is any indication, Eichel will break the ... Read the full article

William Carrier skates Thursday with a parachute a development camp. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect William Carrier close to making NHL

BUFFALO – By around mid-March, it looked imminent. William Carrier, the often overshadowed Sabres prospect, was about to earn his first NHL recall from the Rochester Americans.

In a 21-game stretch, Carrier scored nine goals and 20 points. Before his torrid run, Carrier had compiled only 11 goals and 31 points in his first 94 AHL contests.

“One good game, two good games – it just starts rolling out,” Carrier said Thursday following a development ... Read the full article

Auston Matthews received a lot of attention Friday. ©2016, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Auston Matthews knows Buffalo won’t always be so welcoming

BUFFALO – This city, the site of the 2016 NHL Scouting Combine and Draft, will always hold a special place in Auston Matthews’ heart.

After the combine concludes today, hockey’s biggest prospect will return in three weeks, and barring a seismic, unexpected turn of events, the Toronto Maple Leafs will select Matthews No. 1 overall June 24 inside the First Niagara Center.

The pinnacle of his young career will always be tied to Buffalo.

The ... Read the full article

Dan Lambert talks during his introductory news conference Tuesday. ©2016, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Reconnecting with Dan Bylsma helped lead Dan Lambert to Amerks

ROCHESTER – Dan Lambert’s relationship with Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma started in the mid-1990s, during their playing days with the Long Beach Ice Dogs, a team in the now-defunct International Hockey League.

Lambert was a high-scoring defenseman and the Ice Dogs’ captain. Bylsma, meanwhile, would occasionally be sent down from the parent Los Angeles Kings.

While the two weren’t close, Lambert said they shared “a mutual respect for one another.”

“Were we best friends? ... Read the full article

Dan Lambert spent one season as a Sabres assistant coach. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres name Dan Lambert Amerks coach; Randy Cunneyworth reassigned

Randy Cunneyworth’s return to the Rochester Americans’ bench lasted only one season, as the parent Buffalo Sabres have reassigned the veteran coach to a player development position and named Dan Lambert his replacement, the team announced today.

Lambert, 46, is the 31st coach in the AHL club’s history. The former NHL defenseman spent last season as an assistant coach on Dan Bylsma’s staff in Buffalo.

“We had a plan in place going into last ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark struggled late in the season in Rochester. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark confident after tough stretch

ROCHESTER – In the midst of a nine-game AHL winless stretch in which Buffalo Sabres prospect Linus Ullmark allowed 37 goals, the rookie goalie received a much-needed confidence boost.

When a bruised finger prevented goalie Chad Johnson from playing April 9, the Sabres recalled the struggling Swede from the Americans hours before their season finale against the New York Islanders.

In his first NHL start since Jan. 12, Ullmark helped the Sabres win 4-3 in ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis will have options if he retires. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Popular Amerks veteran Matt Ellis pondering future

ROCHESTER – Physically, Matt Ellis said, he hasn’t felt this good in four or five years. At 34 years old, having just finished his 14th pro season, the popular former Buffalo Sabres forward believes he could keep playing.

“I definitely feel like I got lots left in the tank,” Ellis said Thursday inside the Blue Cross War Memorial.

Still, Ellis understands he could be nearing retirement. This season, his first out of the NHL ... Read the full article

Tyler Myers is out for the season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Former Sabres star Tyler Myers won’t have Buffalo homecoming

BUFFALO – Tyler Myers’ first game back here will have to wait until another season. The Winnipeg Jets defenseman underwent knee surgery Thursday and will miss the rest of the year.

The Jets make their yearly visit to the First Niagara Center on Saturday afternoon.

After Myers’ knee is stabilized and the season ends, he will undergo major hip surgery that requires 16 to 20 weeks of recovery, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

“He ... Read the full article

Dan Catenacci has played three seasons in the AHL. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Dan Catenacci paid dues to earn first NHL recall

BUFFALO – In his first three AHL seasons, Sabres winger Dan Catenacci has developed what he believes is a strong relationship with his coaches. So the youngster was shocked when Randy Cunneyworth summoned him to his office Friday and the entire Rochester Americans’ staff began berating him.

What was the beef? Something Catenacci called a “nothing play” in the previous game.

“They started yelling at me,” he said Monday following practice inside the First Niagara ... Read the full article

Matt Donovan spent all last season in the NHL but only played 12 games. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Matt Donovan hopes regular duty with Amerks helps earn recall to Sabres

ROCHESTER – It’s easy to forget, but almost four months ago, Matt Donovan made the Buffalo Sabres’ roster out of training camp and briefly stayed as the eighth defenseman.

After sitting out three games as a healthy scratch, the Sabres sent Donovan, 25, to the AHL, where he has quietly resumed a career that stalled last season with the New York Islanders.

Sure, getting demoted to the Americans was disappointing. But simply having an opportunity ... Read the full article