Kyle Okposo struggled when the NHL lockout ended in 2013. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo has reaped benefits from changing approach

BUFFALO – It was about halfway through the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, and Kyle Okposo, fresh off his first 20-goal season with the New York Islanders, suddenly couldn’t score or do much of anything.

“I was lost,” the Sabres newcomer recalled earlier in training camp inside KeyBank Center.

Like some other players who stayed home instead of jetting overseas for a temporary gig during the work stoppage, Okposo tried to prepare and be ready for ... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle has impressed again this preseason. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Prospect Brendan Guhle could make Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle tries not to think about it. The defenseman doesn’t ask any questions, either.

He’s happy as long as he’s in Buffalo.

“It’s definitely a little nerve-racking, I’d say,” Guhle said Thursday inside KeyBank Center.

Six days before opening night, Guhle, 19, is still battling to make the Sabres out of training camp as a junior-age player, a rarity.

Thanks to injuries to defensemen Zach Bogosian (groin) and Dmitry Kulikov ... Read the full article

Dmitry Kulikov fell Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Zach Bogosian, Dmitry Kulikov sidelined from Sabres practice

BUFFALO – Just like that, the Sabres’ defense is a little thin. Sure, it’s 12 days before the season opener. The injuries, of course, could be minor.

But with Zach Bogosian (mild groin strain) and Dmitry Kulikov (“bruised butt bone,” according to coach Dan Bylsma) sidelined from practice today, the Sabres are down two of their top four defensemen. Don’t forget, top defender Rasmus Ristolainen is practicing without a contract.

Bogosian hurt his groin in ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel played three games at the World Cup. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel will join Sabres soon

BUFFALO – Expect Sabres center Jack Eichel, who just finished a three-game stint at the World Cup, to join his teammates at training camp this weekend.

Eichel, 19, will return to Buffalo today. The second-year star scored one goal and two points before Team North America was eliminated.

“We’ll see him back at the rink the next couple of days and have a conversation about when he’ll get back on the ice,” Sabres coach ... Read the full article

Cody Franson suffered a season-ending injury Feb. 19. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres need more defense depth

How remarkably healthy did the Buffalo blue line stay in 2015-16? The Sabres recalled a defenseman as an injury replacement just once.

Think about that. Over the course of the grueling six-month, 82-game season, the Sabres only dipped into the AHL on March 18, when they summoned Chad Ruhwedel to sub for Carlo Colaiacovo prior to their 72nd contest. Ruhwedel played that night and was quickly returned to the Rochester Americans.

The Sabres almost ... Read the full article

Tim Murray won’t let himself worry about Jimmy Vesey. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres GM Tim Murray knows Jimmy Vesey could sign elsewhere

BUFFALO – The constant talk about whether former Harvard University star Jimmy Vesey will sign with the Sabres amazes general manager Tim Murray.

No one, of course, has more invested in Vesey than Murray, who traded a third-round pick for the Hobey Baker Award winner’s rights on June 20, a deal he has called a “gamble.”

If Vesey signs, Murray might have a first- or second-line winger to skate beside Jack Eichel or Ryan O’Reilly. ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo was sold on Buffalo early. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Kyle Okposo sees Stanley Cup in Sabres’ future

BUFFALO – The conversation lasted maybe 15 minutes. General manager Tim Murray wanted to gauge Kyle Okposo’s interest, and the free agent wanted to hear what the Sabres could offer him.

When Murray began telling him how underrated the city is, Okposo stopped him and said he knows all about Buffalo and likes it. The nine-year veteran wanted to learn more about the organization.

So after Murray talked about the Sabres and the bright future ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo cashed in early in free agency. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres sign Kyle Okposo to 7-year contract

BUFFALO – Winger Kyle Okposo, arguably the best free agent available, signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Sabres shortly after the market opened this afternoon, according to multiple reports.

The signing is significant. Just 15 months removed from their second consecutive 30th-place finish, the Sabres, who improved 27 points last season, secured a strong talent to play beside centers Jack Eichel or Ryan O’Reilly.

Okposo is coming off a 22-goal, 64-point ... Read the full article