Rasmus Asplund scored seven goals in 28 games this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Confident Rasmus Asplund feels ready for regular duty with Sabres

Sabres winger Rasmus Asplund targeted 2021 from the get-go. By his third season in North America, the Swede wanted to be ready to stick in Buffalo.

Sure enough, Asplund, 23, accomplished his goal, playing the final 21 games of the year under interim Sabres coach Don Granato.

Considering Asplund was a spare part until April, his emergence ranks as one of the season’s biggest surprises.

Yes, Asplund, one of Buffalo’s top-rated prospects, was expected ... Read the full article

Rick Tocchet just coached Arizona four seasons. ©2021, Dan Hickling

Report: Sabres GM Kevyn Adams to interview two coaching candidates

General manager Kevyn Adams plans to interview Bruce Boudreau and Rick Tocchet for the Buffalo Sabres’ head coaching position, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

Don Granato, who served as interim coach after the Sabres fired Ralph Krueger on March 17, remains a candidate for the permanent job, according to LeBrun.

Adams has said he wants to talk to “a lot” of people about the position. He has never hired an NHL coach.

Boudreau, ... Read the full article

Don Granato has coached in college, junior and pro hockey. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

If Sabres pass on Don Granato, hiring an ex-NHL head coach could be wise move

Right now, Don Granato must wait as Kevyn Adams conducts what could be an exhaustive search for the Buffalo Sabres’ next head coach.

The general manager reiterated last week he plans to talk to a lot of people, so it might take several weeks before he makes the most critical decision of his short tenure.

If Adams gets it wrong, it will likely set the franchise back years.

Granato’s work transforming the Sabres as interim ... Read the full article

Mattias Samuelsson played 12 games with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Mattias Samuelsson close to cracking NHL for good

When Mattias Samuelsson returned to Rochester last week following a three-week stint with the Buffalo Sabres, the Americans’ coaching staff challenged the rookie defenseman.

The coaches wanted Samuelsson, fresh off first NHL recall, to use the remaining games on the Amerks’ truncated schedule as a springboard back to Buffalo next season.

“OK, you did a good job in those 12 games, you got a taste,” Amerks coach Seth Appert said the coaches told Samuelsson. “Now ... Read the full article

Injuries limited Kyle Okposo to 35 games this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Kyle Okposo found game under Don Granato after career-worst start

Given his scary history battling concussions, Sabres winger Kyle Okposo thought the worst after teammate Matt Irwin’s shoot-in hit him in the head April 15 in Washington.

Okposo, 33, suffered four concussions over his first four years in Buffalo, including one late in the 2016-17 season that left him hospitalized in intensive care.

“That was obviously a worry when I got hit in the face, you know, like, ‘Oh jeez, I got another concussion,’” Okposo ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe was injured Feb. 20. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Jake McCabe recovering from knee injury, optimistic about Sabres’ future

After Jake McCabe tore up his right knee Feb. 20, ending his season, the Sabres defenseman said he had some difficult conversations with his family that night.

Then McCabe, who had just returned after battling COVID-19, refused to feel sorry for himself. The American decided “being sad and mad” wouldn’t help him rehab from ACL, MCL and meniscus injuries.

“I’ve just had a really good attitude about it the whole time,” McCabe said on an ... Read the full article

Don Granato took over Buffalo on March 17. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Kevyn Adams praises Don Granato, will talk to other candidates

Despite having interim status, Don Granato took a broad approach as Buffalo Sabres coach, opting for building and development over simply trying to win some games.

“I hate being a desperate team,” Granato said on an end-of-season Zoom call Wednesday. “Everybody can look and say, ‘My God, you’re in a desperate situation.’ Well, that’s fine if that’s your perception. But we’re not going to be a desperate team. We’re going to get better every day, ... 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

Rasmus Ristolainen has experienced a lot of losing in his eight seasons in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen open to being traded or staying in Buffalo

In defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s eight seasons in Buffalo, the Sabres have never sniffed the playoffs. In that ugly stretch, they’ve finished dead last four times, including this year, when they won just 15 of their 56 games.

So not surprisingly, Ristolainen, who has one year left on his contract, told Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams he’s open to being traded this offseason.

“Like I told Kevyn a little while ago, I just said, ‘I’m ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark was Buffalo’s best player this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has offseason filled with critical decisions

Kevyn Adams experienced a brutal rookie season as Buffalo Sabres general manager, overseeing a team that suffered through an 18-game winless skid and finished dead last in the NHL.

Trying to fix the Sabres, who have missed the playoffs a record-tying 10 consecutive seasons, could be an arduous task.

Adams’ short list for this offseason includes hiring a coach, trying to re-sign his No. 1 goalie and top scorer and making sure his captain and ... Read the full article