Will Butcher could enjoy a leading role in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Will Butcher has special chance to reignite sputtering career

BUFFALO – Adrenaline and excitement buoyed defenseman Will Butcher through his season debut. In his first outing in nearly five months, the Sabres ran the newcomer ragged, skating him more than 28 minutes.

While Butcher, 26, said he felt fine during Tuesday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the heavy workload caught up with him later.

“Yeah, it was a lot of minutes,” Butcher said following Wednesday’s sessions of training camp inside KeyBank ... 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

Rasmus Dahlin feels good about Buffalo’s future. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Rasmus Dahlin believes in Sabres’ new core: ‘We can … change the culture’

BUFFALO – Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin sees something special in the Sabres’ latest rebuild. The roster upheaval created an opportunity for their young core players to transform the team.

Jake McCabe, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen and Linus Ullmark – four pieces of the old nucleus – are gone. Jack Eichel will likely be the next to leave.

So Dahlin, Dylan Cozens, Casey Mittelstadt and some other Sabres in their early 20s now form the ... 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

Rasmus Dahlin shook off a poor start last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres agree to terms with Rasmus Dahlin on three-year contract

The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to terms with defenseman Rasmus Dahlin on a three-year, $18 million contract, the team announced this morning.

Dahlin, 21, was the Sabres’ last restricted free agent. The Swede’s $6 million average annual value is the highest among the team’s defensemen.

Having traded Rasmus Ristolainen and lost Jake McCabe in free agency, the rebuilding Sabres will rely heavily on Dahlin this season.

... Read the full article

Mark Pysyk, shown here with Rochester, began his NHL career in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Mark Pysyk excited for chance to play defense, optimistic about Sabres’ future

Mark Pysyk said the move shocked him. He had played defense his entire career, and the Florida Panthers suddenly wanted to utilize him as a forward.

But Pysyk had become a spare part in the 2019-20 season under new coach Joel Quenneville. Shifting to wing beat the alternative of remaining a healthy scratch.

So Pysyk embraced the change, often skating on the fourth line while moving back to defense as a penalty killer.

“It was ... Read the full article

Jack Eichel wants to be traded. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams sends strong message to Jack Eichel’s camp

BUFFALO – General manager Kevyn Adams’ strong words sounded like a not-so-subtle message to Jack Eichel’s agents, who recently said they expect the Sabres to trade their captain soon.

Adams won’t give in to Eichel’s demands and simply deal his best player because he wants out. The Sabres have an asset under contract.

“What’s critically important to make sure is clear that we’re in control of this process,” Adams said Thursday inside KeyBank Center. “We ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark first joined Buffalo in 2015. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Goalie Linus Ullmark says goodbye to Buffalo: ‘Sabres fans, I love you guys’

In the barely a week, the Buffalo Sabres have said goodbye to four of their most talented players: goalie Linus Ullmark, center Sam Reinhart and defensemen Jake McCabe and Rasmus Ristolainen.

And in the coming days or weeks, they will likely trade captain Jack Eichel, their most dynamic player and the face of the franchise.

Remember, the Sabres finished dead last in the 2020-21 season, winning only 15 of their 56 games, with those players... Read the full article

Buffalo drafted Jake McCabe in 2012. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

NHL free agency tracker: Sabres lose Jake McCabe to Blackhawks

Jake McCabe’s seven-year career with the Buffalo Sabres is over.

The defenseman this afternoon agreed to terms with the Chicago Blackhawks on a four-year, $16 million contract in free agency.

McCabe makes his offseason home in suburban Chicago.

General manager Kevyn Adams said on Saturday the Sabres were still interested in re-signing McCabe, 27, but he expected him to hit the open market.

Update: On a virtual news conference, McCabe said joining Chicago is ... Read the full article

Linus Ullmark enjoyed a stellar season on a bad team in 2020-21. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Losing top goalie Linus Ullmark in free agency would be huge blow to Sabres

The days of the Sabres trying to lure big-name free agents to Buffalo are over. When the market opens today, they’ll likely be bit players, focusing on filling some of their many holes and adding depth while attempting to re-sign goalie Linus Ullmark.

Ullmark’s departure would be a massive blow to the Sabres. The Swede, their backbone and MVP, earned nine of the team’s 15 wins last season in only 20 outings.

They don’t ... Read the full article