BUFFALO – When the Winnipeg Ice reconvened to begin an abbreviated season in 2021, James Patrick figured Zach Benson would mostly practice with the junior team. If things went well, the coach hoped the diminutive 15-year-old might play about five games.
In the Western Hockey League, the 5-foot-5, 140-pound rookie winger would be facing opponents four or five years older and nearly a foot taller and 50 or 60 pounds heavier.
Patrick still laughs recalling ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – At first, Jamie Wood didn’t want his son, Matthew, to play college hockey at such a young age. Having played and coached in the NCAA, he understood the physicality and speed could overwhelm a 17-year-old fresh out of junior.
Besides a chance to attend UConn, Matthew Wood had other intriguing options to consider for the 2022-23 season.
The 6-foot-4, 193-pound forward could return to the Vernon Vipers and defend his British Columbia Hockey ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – In the bedroom of his childhood home in Hohenems, Austria, NHL Draft prospect David Reinbacher still has a jersey of former Sabres star Thomas Vanek he proudly wore growing up.
Vanek, who scored 373 goals over 14 NHL seasons, has long been the face of Austrian hockey. But his popularity transcends the sport. He’s an icon in the country.
“I would say (he’s) like Arnold Schwarzenegger there,” Reinbacher said, comparing the high-scoring ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Connor Bedard prefers to live in the moment. With all the outside noise and hype surrounding him, the ultra-talented center, a lock to be the first overall pick at the upcoming NHL Draft, said it allows him to enjoy things “kind of be where your feet are.”
“That’s good advice I’ve got from a few guys,” Bedard said Friday in LECOM Harborcenter, where the NHL Scouting Combine is taking place this week.
That’s ... Read the full article
MONTREAL – In Viktor Neuchev, the Buffalo Sabres saw value. They ranked the talented winger as one of the top three Russian prospects in the NHL Draft, said Jerry Forton, the director of amateur scouting.
Many Sabres scouts graded Neuchev as a first- or early second-round pick. Their analytics staff pegged him as a first-round selection.
As the draft approached, general manager Kevyn Adams said the Sabres would evaluate Russians as prospects first. They ... Read the full article
MONTREAL – All along, the Buffalo Sabres planned to select a goalie this year. But there was a problem: the 2022 NHL Draft was light on net prospects.
Still, one youngster, Topias Leinonen, NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked European goalie, caught their eye.
“We felt this guy had first- (or) second-round value,” Jerry Forton, the Sabres’ director of amateur scouting, said Friday afternoon following the draft inside the Bell Centre. “The question was do we use ... Read the full article
MONTREAL – The assets available in the crowded goalie market keep dwindling every day.
Two more netminders were traded Friday at the NHL Draft, as the St. Louis Blues dealt Ville Husso to the Detroit Red Wings and the Washington Capitals dished Vitek Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils.
The Sabres, who must add another established goalie, have limited options. They tried to acquire Matt Murray from the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, but the two-time ... Read the full article
MONTREAL – The Buffalo Sabres this morning selected Finnish goalie Topias Leinonen in the second round, 41st overall, at the NHL Draft.
The 6-foot-5, 233-pound Leinonen is NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked European goalie.
Leinonen, 18, spent most of last season with JYP, a junior team, compiling a 9-10-0 record with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in 21 games. He also played four games with JYP’s pro team in Liiga and made ... Read the full article
MONTREAL – Centers are perhaps the most precious commodity in hockey, and the Buffalo Sabres had built up an impressive stockpile of them before they selected Matthew Savoie ninth overall, Noah Ostlund 16th and Jiri Kulich 28th at the NHL Draft on Thursday.
In 18-year-old youngsters, the Sabres picked three of the most talented pivots in the draft and added to perhaps the league’s deepest group.
In the NHL, the Sabres have skilled centers Dylan ... Read the full article
MONTREAL – The Buffalo Sabres must keep looking for another goalie.
A potential deal between the Sabres and Ottawa Senators involving Matt Murray was nixed because Buffalo is on the goalie’s 10-team no-trade list, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
The Senators would’ve retained some of Murray’s salary and given the Sabres the seventh overall pick in tonight’s NHL Draft in exchange for the 16th selection, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
“The reality is we worked ... Read the full article