Don Granato knows the value of an early goal. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Don Granato plans to play fast-paced, exciting hockey

BUFFALO – Historically, NHL teams that score first or hold the lead at the end of the first period go on to win the game.

The Sabres won only 15 of their 56 games last season, finishing dead last. Still, when they opened the scoring, they compiled a strong 8-6-5 record. When they led after 20 minutes, they went 4-3-4.

Sabres coach Don Granato brought up the value of an early goal or lead Wednesday ... Read the full article

Aaron Dell played two preseason games for Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres waive Aaron Dell, likely have goaltending set for opening night

The Buffalo Sabres this afternoon waived struggling goalie Aaron Dell, meaning they could begin the season with veterans Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski in net.

Dell, 32, compiled a 0-0-1 record with a 5.57 goals-against average and an .838 save percentage in 65 minutes played over two preseason games.

In Tuesday’s 5-4 road loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dell relieved Tokarski, allowing three goals in 35 minutes of game action and four goals in ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played two preseason games. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen enjoyed ‘great’ training camp

BUFFALO – On the surface, goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s preseason looks disappointing. Instead of forcing the Sabres to keep him, they demoted the Finn to the minors 10 days before opening night.

Luukkonen, 22, compiled a 0-2-0 record in two starts, allowing five goals in each game.

Still, coach Don Granato said Luukkonen, one of seven players the Sabres sent to the Rochester Americans on Tuesday, enjoyed “a great camp.”

“In a progressive way,” Granato ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is considered Buffalo’s goalie of the future. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres trim training camp roster, send six players to Amerks

BUFFALO – Top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was among six players the Sabres sent to the Rochester Americans this morning.

The Sabres also assigned forwards Matej Pekar, Ryan MacInnis, Sean Malone and Linus Weissbach and defenseman Oskari Laaksonen to their AHL affiliate.

The Amerks open training camp today. The Sabres, meanwhile, play a road preseason game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson might be a first-liner for Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres to dress lineup with established talent against Penguins

BUFFALO – Ten Sabres – much of their established talent – will be making their preseason debut tonight at KeyBank Center.

So some of the line combinations and defense pairings the Sabres will be showcasing against the Pittsburgh Penguins could be utilized in the regular season.

Top center Casey Mittelstadt pivoted Jeff Skinner and Victor Olofsson this morning. On defense, Rasmus Dahlin skated beside Henri Jokiharju, his partner late last season.

Coach Don Granato said ... Read the full article

Sean Malone could have opportunities in Buffalo this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

West Seneca’s Sean Malone excited for second stint in Sabres organization

BUFFALO – For one season, Sean Malone enjoyed having a fresh set of eyes examine him. The Sabres center impressed the Nashville Predators so much he earned a stint on their taxi squad and a one-game promotion to the active roster.

In just his second NHL outing and first in nearly four years, Malone recorded his first point Feb. 9, an assist.

Mostly, however, Malone toiled in the minors, playing 23 games for the Chicago ... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk spent his first four NHL seasons in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Mark Pysyk enjoying return to Sabres: ‘Going to be a fun team to watch’

BUFFALO – Sometimes, Mark Pysyk said, it seems like he only left the Sabres a week ago. Other times, however, he acknowledged it feels like it has been a long time.

The Sabres, who signed a one-year, $900,000 contract to return, left in 2016. Only one teammate from the affable defenseman’s first run here, center Zemgus Girgensons, is still with the team.

“I see him walking around, the way he plays, his body takes a ... Read the full article

Will Butcher has represented Team USA. ©2021, Dan Hickling

In Will Butcher, Sabres add intriguing talent to blue line for nothing

BUFFALO – As NHL general managers scramble to make offseason moves and fit fat contracts under the $81.5 million flat salary cap, they’ve been gifting talented, high-priced players and draft picks to teams willing to accept big money.

Prior to free agency, the Chicago Blackhawks acquired a combined $12 million cap hit in goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forward Tyler Johnson.

For the 2020-21 Vezina Trophy winner and a regular on the past two Stanley Cup ... Read the full article

Will Butcher was interested in joining Buffalo in 2017. ©2021, Dan Hickling

Sabres acquire Will Butcher, bring back Sean Malone, Brandon Davidson

After losing goalie Linus Ullmark to the Boston Bruins in free agency this afternoon, the Buffalo Sabres made their second addition of the day, acquiring defenseman Will Butcher and a fifth-round pick in 2022 from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for, well, nothing.

The Devils gave Butcher, 26, to the Sabres because they just signed defenseman Dougie Hamilton to an seven-year, $63 million contract, according to reports, and needed to clear salary cap space.... Read the full article

Sean Malone enjoyed a terrific comeback season. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Former Sabre Sean Malone ready for fresh opportunity with Predators

If the Buffalo Sabres hadn’t cleaned house last month, firing 22 people, including the AHL coaching staff he had built a strong relationship with over three seasons, center Sean Malone would’ve considered re-signing in the organization.

Kevyn Adams, Jason Botterill’s replacement, is the Sabres’ fourth GM since they drafted the West Seneca native in the sixth round in 2013.

“It’s hard to keep climbing up the ladder when you’re starting over new every ... Read the full article