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

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

Chad Johnson has never played more than 27 NHL games. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres confident in goalie Chad Johnson

BUFFALO – Considering Chad Johnson is the only healthy goalie on the roster, it can be assumed the backup will start this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.

“Let’s go with that,” Bylsma said sarcastically Friday.

Goaltending was arguably the Sabres’ biggest question mark before new starter Robin Lehner suffered a lower-body injury about halfway through the season opener Thursday.

Now, the Sabres might be forced to lean heavily on ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner was injured his first start. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres turn to goalie Chad Johnson with Robin Lehner out

BUFFALO – For the time being at least, career backup Chad Johnson is the Sabres’ new starting goalie with Robin Lehner sidelined.

Lehner, who was hurt almost midway through Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Ottawa, was evaluated today and will be examined again Saturday. The Sabres will know more then, coach Dan Bylsma said.

As the Sabres practiced this morning inside the First Niagara Center, Lehner, who was wearing a walking boot on his right foot ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey was a 2013 second-round pick. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres send 10 players to Amerks

BUFFALO – The Sabres have sent 10 players to the Rochester Americans, including Williamsville native Justin Bailey, a wing prospect beginning his first professional season.

The Sabres also sent forwards Nick Baptiste, William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Jerry D’Amigo, Jean Dupuy Justin Kea, Jack Nevins and Phil Varone and goalie Andrey Makarov to the AHL club. D’Amigo and Varone must clear waivers.

In addition, the Sabres released forward Matt Garbowsky and defenseman Matt Prapavessis from their ... Read the full article

Robin Lehner stops a shot from Max McCormick on Wednesday. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Evander Kane scores twice in Sabres’ preseason loss to Senators

BUFFALO – A week ago, Sabres newcomer Evander Kane, a winger who has hit the 30-goal mark once in his six-year career, boldly said he wants score 40 or 50 times this season.

Was it brash? You bet. But Kane backed up his words Wednesday, starting his Sabres career splendidly by scoring twice in their 5-2 exhibition loss to the Ottawa Senators before an announced crowd of 17,298 fans inside the First Niagara Center.

“It ... Read the full article

Brendan Guhle will play his second preseason game tonight. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Brendan Guhle making strong impression

BUFFALO – The odds, of course, are still very low Brendan Guhle will stick around. In the coming days, the Sabres will likely send the defense prospect, the 51st pick in June, back to his junior club following an impressive training camp.

But Sabres coach Dan Bylsma left the door open just a crack for the 18-year-old.

“At least through one exhibition game and practice so far, he’s shown the ability that he could ... Read the full article

Dan Bylsma keeps wondering whose loud voice he’s hearing. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Goalie Robin Lehner to start against Senators; Jack Eichel out

BUFFALO – The voice is so loud, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma keeps looking back on the ice and wondering who the heck is yelling.

“His voice is like his size, it’s big,” Bylsma said about 6-foot-5 goalie Robin Lehner, who will start Wednesday’s preseason home opener inside the First Niagara Center against his old team, the Ottawa Senators.

Lehner, as anyone who has watched a training camp practice quickly learned, loves to communicate on the ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel had a nifty assist on his first shift. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Jack Eichel wows early in Sabres’ win against Devils

BUFFALO – It took just one 25-second shift, his first wearing a Sabres uniform, for rookie Jack Eichel to create his first highlight.

There will likely be many more over the coming years.

Seconds into Sabres’ 6-2 rookie camp exhibition win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, Eichel snagged the puck in his own zone with clear ice ahead, and the announced crowd of 5,505 inside the First Niagara Center began to buzz.

An ... Read the full article

The Sabres selected Nick Baptiste in the third round in 2013. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Nick Baptiste thriving in new role with Otters

Joining a loaded Erie Otters team featuring Connor McDavid and two other slick 100-point scorers earlier this season has allowed Buffalo Sabres prospect Nick Baptiste to sharpen and expand his game before he begins his pro career.

The Ontario Hockey League powerhouse doesn’t rely on the winger’s offense.

The Otters have McDavid, hockey’s biggest prospect in a decade; Dylan Strome, the league’s leading scorer; and Alex DeBrincat, who quietly scored 51 goals, more than ... Read the full article