Don Granato is excited about Buffalo’s future. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

One year after hiring, Don Granato has dramatically changed the Sabres

BUFFALO – Sabres coach Don Granato kept rattling off names. There was Taylor Hall, Brandon Montour, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen and Eric Staal.

“I’m probably missing a couple more,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice at LECOM Harborcenter.

Then two more names, Jack Eichel and Jake McCabe, popped into his head.

One year ago today, Granato inherited a veteran-laden team at its nadir. The Sabres were 12 losses into what would become a stunning 18-game winless ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has scored 16 goals this season. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

After rough season, rejuvenated Jeff Skinner again one of Sabres’ top threats

BUFFALO – It took time for Jeff Skinner to recapture his scoring prowess after enduring a miserable, career-worst season. The Sabres winger scored just once in the first eight games of what has become a terrific comeback year.

But from the get-go this season, Sabres coach Don Granato saw Skinner, 29, possessed confidence he would resolve his problems and was hellbent on becoming a go-to guy again.

Granato said Skinner began practicing and playing with ... Read the full article

Rasmus Dahlin has become perhaps Buffalo’s most consistent presence. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

NHL All-Star Rasmus Dahlin becoming Sabres’ best player: ‘Elite defenseman’

BUFFALO – This is all new, you know. In the past, Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin wasn’t awarded more than 25 minutes of ice time and given the difficult task of shutting down the opposition’s best talent.

At times, Dahlin, 21, has struggled in his new role as the No. 1 defenseman. The Swede often puts too much pressure on himself, and when things turn sour, he can respond by pressing and trying to impose his ... Read the full article

Buffalo traded Evan Rodrigues to Pittsburgh in 2020. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ex-Sabre Evan Rodrigues becomes big contributor to Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Ex-Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues never lacked confidence during his four-year stint in Buffalo. After earning a one-year, $2 million arbitration award in 2019, he said he possessed the talent to play with anyone in the NHL.

Then ex-Sabres coach Ralph Krueger scratched Rodrigues opening night, the beginning of the end of his career in Buffalo. Rodrigues morphed into a spare part before the Sabres traded him to the Penguins almost two years ago.... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt has become one of the most recognizable faces on the Sabres. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

‘Deep dive’ into game helped Casey Mittelstadt become Sabres’ top center

BUFFALO – Don Granato first sensed it during the Sabres’ marathon offseason in 2020. Having been humbled by his demotion to the minors, Casey Mittelstadt grasped he had reached a critical juncture of his career.

When Granato, then an assistant coach, spoke to Mittelstadt, he could feel the center was evolving and maturing.

“He was putting all these pieces (together) of what people had presented to him,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice.

Granato said Mittelstadt ... Read the full article

Henri Jokiharju struggled early last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju ready to seize fresh opportunities

BUFFALO – The new, more aggressive system Sabres coach Don Granato installed last season helped defenseman Henri Jokiharju transform his game.

Instead of laying back, Jokiharju, 22, could finally attack. After struggling for months under ex-coach Ralph Krueger, the Finn recaptured the steady form he showcased in 2019-20.

“It was way easier to play,” Jokiharju said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center. “You play the hockey, just go out there. You weren’t just passive or falling back. ... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Rasmus Dahlin first overall in 2018. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin has contract, chance to thrive under Don Granato

Over the final weeks last season, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin shook off a ghastly three-month slump, morphing into the Buffalo Sabres’ most dynamic presence some games.

Dahlin, 21, started playing confidently again, showcasing a calmer, more composed style while utilizing his speed and embracing the physical side.

His transformation under new coach Don Granato illustrated that despite some struggles, he possesses the talent to develop into one of the NHL’s premier defensemen.

In the near ... Read the full article

Matt Ellis will move behind the bench permanently. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres change up coaching staff, retain Matt Ellis, add two new faces

Don Granato has overhauled the Buffalo Sabres’ coaching staff, retaining Matt Ellis and hiring Jason Christie and Marty Wilford as assistants, the team announced Thursday.

In addition, Justin White has been named video coordinator. Assistant coach Mike Bales, who’s charge of the goalies, and video coach Myles Fee will remain with the Sabres this season, according to the team. Both were hired by ex-coach Ralph Krueger.

Dan Girardi, an interim assistant coach last season, ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has struggled over the past two seasons. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner waives no-movement clause for Expansion Draft

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner has waived his no-movement clause for the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft, his agent, Don Meehan, confirmed to the Times Herald on Wednesday.

Skinner’s decision is significant. The Sabres can use his spot to protect a young forward – perhaps Rasmus Asplund, Anders Bjork or Tage Thompson – who could’ve been exposed to the Seattle Kraken next Wednesday.

Skinner, 29, has struggled since signing an eight-year, $72 million contract ... Read the full article

Don Granato was hired as Buffalo’s permanent coach Tuesday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Confident Don Granato embraces challenge of coaching Sabres

After the Sabres’ tumultuous season ended, Don Granato told general manager Kevyn Adams how much he coveted the team’s permanent head coaching position.

Granato, having transformed the Sabres into a competitive group during his 28-game stint as interim coach, likely could’ve pursued opportunities on higher-profile clubs.

But Granato, who on Tuesday was named the 20th coach in franchise history, wanted to stay in Buffalo.

“This is the position I wanted to be in, I had ... Read the full article