BUFFALO – Rasmus Dahlin’s phone rang Saturday night and on the other end, Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams informed the budding superstar defenseman his eight-year, $88 million contract had been completed.
Dahlin, 23, remembers feeling a sense of relief – “I was so happy,” he said – and, well, not much else.
“I barely remember what I said,” a smiling Dahlin said following Monday’s practice in KeyBank Center, hours after the Sabres announced the biggest ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – For most of his career, the hockey world labeled Jeff Skinner as a one-dimensional player: the shifty Sabres winger scored goals and that was about it.
Ex-Sabres coach Ralph Krueger, who nearly destroyed Skinner’s career, once famously said the popular veteran “measured his whole career on goals.”
“When I came in, he was known as a 40-goal scorer and now he’s so much more than that to me,” coach Don Granato, who ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – The new contract the Sabres awarded coach Don Granato illustrates the much-needed stability they’ve developed under general manager Kevyn Adams.
Over the past six weeks, Adams, Granato, leading scorer Tage Thompson and top-pair defenseman Mattias Samuelsson have all signed extensions.
On Wednesday, the eve of the season opener, the Sabres announced Granato’s “multi-year” contract and Samuelsson’s seven-year, $30 million deal within an hour.... Read the full article
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
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
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
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
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
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
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