Zemgus Girgensons was all over the ice last season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

5 storylines to follow during Sabres training camp

BUFFALO – The Sabres team that will convene today for training camp physicals, the official start of the 2016-17 season, isn’t much different from the one that just finished seventh in the Atlantic Division.

Sure, there were some notable summer additions. Winger Kyle Okposo, who signed a seven-year, $42 million contract July 1, was arguably the best free agent available. Dmitri Kulikov gives the Sabres a sturdy veteran to skate beside No. 1 defenseman ... Read the full article

Hudson Fasching had a hectic spring with hockey and school. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Hudson Fasching confident after busy offseason

BUFFALO – Rookie Hudson Fasching applied a hockey philosophy to his schoolwork when he returned to the University of Minnesota in April following a seven-game stint with the Sabres.

Fresh off his first NHL action, Fasching, 21, had two and a half weeks to complete the semester and his entrepreneurial management degree before leaving school to represent Team USA at the World Hockey Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“I was like, ‘OK, I’m just going ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark had highs and lows as a rookie. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark feeling fresh again

BUFFALO – Almost a year ago, just months removed from double hip surgery, Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark roared into NHL, winning four of his first six starts.

By early November, some fans wanted Ullmark to be the Sabres’ new starter. By January, the rookie was back in the minors. By March, he couldn’t even win an AHL game, losing eight straight decisions.

“My first half of the season was good,” Ullmark said ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey enjoyed a terrific rookie season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospects will fight for jobs in rookie camp

BUFFALO – Sure, it’s just rookie camp, four days reserved for Sabres prospects before training camp. By the end of the month, most of the youngsters participating will be back in junior or the minors.

But with young talent relied on so heavily these days, the battle for NHL jobs really begins today, when camp opens inside HarborCenter.

Five prospects – forwards Justin Bailey, Hudson Fasching and Evan Rodrigues and goalies Jason Kasdorf and ... Read the full article

Jason Kasdorf made his NHL debut April 8. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres re-sign Jason Kasdorf, Dan Catenacci

BUFFALO – The Sabres have re-signed goalie Jason Kasdorf, who made his NHL debut late last season, to a two-year, two-way contract, the team announced Sunday.

The 6-foot-3, 172-pound Kasdorf, 24, will likely begin next season with the AHL Rochester Americans.

Kasdorf, an afterthought in the blockbuster 2015 Evander Kane with the Jets, joined the Sabres in March after finishing his NCAA career with R.P.I. He played his only pro game April 8, making ... Read the full article

Kyle Okposo will sign a lucrative contract. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres won’t find elite talent in free agency

BUFFALO – The pickings are so slim in NHL free agency this year, perhaps the most coveted player available, Kyle Okposo, has never cracked the 30-goal or 70-point marks.

Okposo, of course, is a talented winger. The Minnesota native is coming off a 22-goal, 64-point season with the New York Islanders. He has 139 goals and 369 points in 529 NHL games over nine years, including three 20-goal seasons and two 60-point campaigns.

Yes, Okposo ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres’ plans. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Mark Pysyk surprised by trade from Sabres to Panthers

BUFFALO – Fresh off his first full NHL season, Mark Pysyk figured he was in the Sabres’ long-term plans. With the defenseman skating regular minutes in 55 games, the team improved 27 points, moving from last overall to 23rd.

“I wasn’t really banking on anything happening,” Pysyk told the Times Herald by phone Sunday.

Then Saturday morning, as Pysyk slept, his phone began lighting up with calls and texts. Eventually, his fiancé informed ... 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

Andrey Makarov became a spare part late this season. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Andrey Makarov likely done with Sabres organization

ROCHESTER – It rarely happens. In fact, it might have been a first. Five days after posting a 30-save shutout, the Americans scratched a healthy Andrey Makarov for their next game, Friday’s 5-0 loss to Albany.

Top Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark started the home finale. Nathan Lieuwen, just back from his three-week NHL stint, backed up the Swede.

The loquacious Makarov, 22, watched from the stands wearing a suit.

Two years ago, ... Read the full article

Sabres goalie Jason Kasdorf makes a first-period save in his NHL debut Friday. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres fall in home finale to Blue Jackets, won’t hit .500

BUFFALO – In the big picture, failing to hit a .500 points percentage, a notable mark the Sabres sorely wanted, shouldn’t matter much.

The Sabres’ 4-1 loss in Friday’s home finale to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets secured their third straight losing season (34-36-11), and like so many other home games recently, they let a weak opponent exploit them.

Still, the Sabres’ recent 7-2-2 run thrust them up the standings, giving them a real goal ... Read the full article