In past years, a slew of former Buffalo Sabres had difficulty finding work in free agency.
With few suitors on the open market, some settled for training camp tryouts while others went overseas or never played again.
So far this offseason, seven players who spent time in Buffalo last season have quickly landed new NHL contracts. Here’s an update:
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BUFFALO – The Sabres possess a stable of strong goaltending prospects.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, a Finn labeled as the Sabres’ goalie of the future, has looked impressive in his limited NHL action. While he has battled injuries and struggled at times in the minors, he’s still a terrific young talent.
The Sabres also boast Devon Levi, the NCAA’s top goalie last season at Northeastern, and drafted Topias Leinonen in the second round on Friday, ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – The Americans battled adversity and beat long odds for weeks, eking into the Calder Cup Playoffs on the last day of the regular season before beginning their deepest and most memorable postseason run in 18 years.
They rallied to win games, earned four overtime victories and triumphed in a do-or-die Game 5 against a top seed.
So when the Amerks dropped the first two games on the road against the Laval Rocket in ... Read the full article
The Rochester Americans are on the brink of elimination from the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Forwards Brandon Gignac, Louis Belpedio and Lucas Condotta scored Monday as the Laval Rocket defeated the Amerks 3-1 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five AHL North Division final.
Laval never trailed Monday at Place Bell – Gignac opened the scoring 5:17 into the game – and has outscored the Amerks 9-2 in the series.
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For the first time since 2004, the Rochester Americans have won two series in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Forwards Arttu Ruotsalainen, Sean Malone and Mark Jankowski scored third-period goals Thursday as the Amerks rallied to defeat the top-seeded Utica Comets 4-2 and win the best-of-five AHL North Division semifinal 3-2.
After Ruotsalainen’s power-play goal tied it at the 3:21 mark, Malone put the Amerks up at 6:45, beating Utica goalie Nico Daws from above the ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – In opening up a series lead and putting the Utica Comets on the brink of elimination from the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Americans hadn’t seen the best out of the AHL powerhouse.
The top-seeded Comets only showcased flashes of their slick regular-season form throughout the first three games of best-of-five AHL North Division semifinal. In a do-or-die scenario Tuesday, you figured they would come out roaring.
Well, in Game 4, the Comets gave ... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – JJ Peterka could be one-and-done in the AHL. The Buffalo Sabres prospect just enjoyed the greatest offensive campaign in a teenage season since 1976. Over the weekend, the German winger was the most dynamic player in the Calder Cup Playoffs, recording five points, including a hat trick, in two Americans wins.
After a 28-goal, 68-point regular season, the excitement and pressure that accompanies postseason hockey has helped Peterka transform into a dominant presence.... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – Considering the Americans boast one of the AHL’s deepest forward groups, it’s easy for rookie winger Lukas Rousek to be overshadowed.
In center Peyton Krebs and wingers JJ Peterka, Jack Quinn and Arttu Ruotsalainen, they possess four of the AHL’s top young talents.
Sean Malone and Michael Mersch each cracked the 20-goal mark. Brandon Biro, Mark Jankowski and Brett Murray all spent time with the Buffalo Sabres this season.... Read the full article
ROCHESTER – In the opening minutes of Friday’s third period, Americans center Mark Jankowski fought off a defender behind the net and laid the puck on the doorstep for his linemate, Jack Quinn, to convert.
When goal scorers receive a nifty pass like that in close, they shoot, oh, just about every time. But Quinn, the most dangerous threat the Amerks have had in a long time, displayed poise under pressure, quickly dishing the puck ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – When the Sabres signed a slew of cheap free agents to one-year contracts last summer, it appeared their tenures here would be short.
After a season or less, they might become expendable. Some of organization’s prospects would mature and the rebuilding Sabres might also acquire better talent.
Well, so far, some prospects – defenseman Casey Fitzgerald and Mattias Samuelsson, for example – have graduated from the minors and earned regular duty. Others like ... Read the full article