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

Matt Ellis (pictured) moved behind the bench when Don Granato was promoted. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres coach Don Granato to discuss filling out staff

As the Buffalo Sabres’ interim coach, Don Granato worked with a staff he inherited.

When general manager Kevyn Adams fired coach Ralph Krueger and assistant coach Steve Smith on March 17, he moved Matt Ellis, his director of player development, and Dan Girardi, a development coach, behind the bench.

Ellis replaced Granato, who ran the power play as an assistant under Krueger. Girardi, meanwhile, took over Smith’s role in charge of the defense.... Read the full article

Buffalo coach Don Granato has varied experience. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Don Granato paid dues, defied odds to become Sabres’ new coach

When the Buffalo Sabres named Don Granato their interim coach, he was expected to simply be a fill-in. After their disastrous season ended, general manager Kevyn Adams could start searching for Ralph Krueger’s permanent replacement.

But a funny thing happened. Granato, who was named the 20th head coach in franchise history Tuesday, quickly emerged as the Sabres’ best long-term option.

After losing their first six games under Granato, 53, the Sabres looked like a ... Read the full article

Don Granato took over the Sabres on an interim basis March 17. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres name Don Granato 20th coach in franchise history

When the Buffalo Sabres named Don Granato their interim coach, he was expected to simply be a fill-in. After their disastrous season ended, general manager Kevyn Adams could start searching for Ralph Krueger’s permanent replacement.

But a funny thing happened. Granato, who was named the 20th head coach in franchise history Tuesday, quickly emerged as the Sabres’ best long-term option.

After losing their first six games under Granato, 53, the Sabres looked like a radically ... Read the full article

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