Austin Osmanski was thrilled the Sabres drafted him. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Austin Osmanski’s selection by Sabres emotional

BUFFALO – By late Saturday morning, as the seven-round NHL Draft crept toward the end, East Aurora’s Austin Osmanski and his 50 or 60 supporters started getting nervous.

At one point, Osmanski, 18, joked to his father, Kevin, who was sitting beside him, they should leave. But deep down, the defenseman was really worried he wouldn’t be selected by anyone, let alone the hometown Sabres.

Osmanski responded to his aunt’s attempt to lighten the mood ... Read the full article

Dan Lambert coached the Kelowna Rockets last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres hire Dan Lambert as assistant coach

BUFFALO – When development camp began Monday, there was an unfamiliar face on the ice putting the Sabres prospects through drills inside the First Niagara Center.

Who was it?

During the first session, the Sabres officially announced Dan Lambert’s hire as the third assistant on coach Dan Bylsma’s staff.

The 45-year-old Lambert coached the Kelowna Rockets last year, leading the junior club to a Western Hockey League championship and a Memorial Cup appearance in his ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel will be the talk of development camp. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres have plenty of shiny prospects to showcase beside Jack Eichel

BUFFALO – The thousands of Sabres fans who visit the First Niagara Center this week to watch the team’s prospects should leave with at least one special, indelible memory. For the first time up close on home ice, they’ll get to see slick center Jack Eichel.

Sure, it’s only a summer development camp. But watching Eichel in Sabres gear just two weeks after he was drafted second overall will likely never be forgotten.

Of course, ... Read the full article

Hudson Fasching skates earlier this week. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Photo: Sabres prospect Hudson Fasching with Team USA at Lake Placid

Winger Hudson Fasching is one of three Buffalo Sabres prospects left at Team USA’s National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid. J.T. Compher and Anthony Florentino are still participating. The U.S. cut Connor Hurley and Sean Malone on Tuesday.

Based on his past exploits, Fasching, a power forward at the University of Minnesota, should be a lock to make this year’s world junior squad. The 19-year-old, fresh off a 14-goal, 30-point freshman season, had two ... Read the full article

J.T. Compher has played one college season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect J.T. Compher earning notice by agitating opponents

BUFFALO – Early during Sabres development camp, J.T. Compher, proud University of Michigan student-athlete, noticed Hudson Fasching, his roommate from the University of Minnesota, brought a Big Ten shirt.

“I threw it on the ground,” a smiling Compher said. “I didn’t want to see that out of his suitcase again.”

Their rivalry started last season, when Compher’s Wolverines lost three of their four conference meetings to Fasching’s Golden Gophers, who captured the first-ever ... Read the full article

Sean Malone (gold) has played well since the Sabres drafted him. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Photo: Sabres prospect Sean Malone in close on Nathan Lieuwen

BUFFALO – As a sixth-round pick, center Sean Malone faces some long odds to crack the NHL someday. But the West Seneca native has been developing rapidly since the Sabres selected him 159th overall in 2013.

The 19-year-old earned Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year honors last season. He’ll be participating in Team USA’s world junior camp next month in Lake Placid.

In the Dan Hickling photo above, Malone nearly scores on goalie Nathan ... Read the full article

Sean Malone was the second local player the Sabres selected in June. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Best Sabres photos of 2013: Sean Malone’s draft smile

Over the next few days, ace photographer Dan Hickling will be sharing and talking about some of his favorite shots from 2013.

Take it away, Dan …

The Sabres have occasionally selected local players during the NHL Entry Draft, as they did twice — taking both Justin Bailey and Sean Malone — in the 2013 confab held June 30 in Newark, N.J. Here, Malone, a West Seneca native taken in the sixth round (159th overall), ... Read the full article

Justin Bailey fields questions Sunday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Local prospects Justin Bailey and Sean Malone thrilled to be drafted by Sabres

NEWARK, N.J. – The memory is seared in Justin Bailey’s mind. The Williamsville native vividly remembers watching from his grandparents’ house as Brett Hull’s disputed “No Goal” eliminated his favorite team, the Buffalo Sabres, from the 1999 Stanley Cup final.

“It was crushing for me,” Bailey said Sunday inside the Prudential Center minutes after the Sabres selected him 52nd overall with their third second-round pick in the NHL Entry Draft.

Even as a 3-year-old, ... Read the full article