The arrangement was unusual. Matthew Savoie would spend most of the 2019-20 season practicing with the Winnipeg Ice, learning the rigors of major junior hockey at the tender age of 15. But the phenom would be permitted to play just half of the team’s games.
Savoie, the ninth overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres on July 7, had applied to Hockey Canada for exceptional status, which would’ve allowed the ultra-talented center to join the Ice ... Read the full article
MONTREAL – Centers are perhaps the most precious commodity in hockey, and the Buffalo Sabres had built up an impressive stockpile of them before they selected Matthew Savoie ninth overall, Noah Ostlund 16th and Jiri Kulich 28th at the NHL Draft on Thursday.
In 18-year-old youngsters, the Sabres picked three of the most talented pivots in the draft and added to perhaps the league’s deepest group.
In the NHL, the Sabres have skilled centers Dylan ... Read the full article
MONTREAL – The Buffalo Sabres tonight selected Matthew Savoie, a center with the Western Hockey League’s Winnipeg Ice, ninth overall at the NHL Draft.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Savoie compiled 35 goals and 90 points in 65 games last season.
“My offensive abilities, my skating ability, I think is what makes me stand out as a player,” Savoie said at the NHL Scouting Combine last month in Buffalo.” I think I have good vision in the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Center Conor Geekie, an NHL Draft prospect the Sabres could be interested in taking ninth or 16th overall, hails from the tiny prairie town of Strathclair, Manitoba, population 709.
Well, that number from the 2016 Canadian Census is a little misleading. It includes the population of the surrounding area. Strathclair proper is much smaller.
“Um, 137, I think,” Geekie replied Friday when asked how many people live in his hometown. “Just in the ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Of all the coaches the Sabres’ Matt Ellis could’ve faced in his first game filling in for Don Granato, it turned out to be the one he knows best, Lindy Ruff.
These days, Ruff, 61, coaches the New Jersey Devils, the Sabres’ opponent Wednesday at KeyBank Center.
Ellis, 40, played under Ruff for parts of five seasons, growing from a forward the Sabres plucked off waivers into an NHL regular. ... Read the full article
PITTSBURGH – Almost five years ago, Conor Sheary’s pro prospects were dim.
After scoring nine goals and 28 points in 34 games as a senior in 2013-14, only one team showed interest in the diminutive University of Massachusetts product.
“I didn’t have any offers, really,” the speedy Buffalo Sabres winger said prior to Monday’s 5-4 come-from-behind overtime win against the Penguins inside PPG Paints Arena. “Pittsburgh was the only offer I had.”
Well, technically, it ... Read the full article
CHICAGO – As the first round of the NHL Draft approached, no one seemed to have any idea how the early portion would play out and where youngsters like new Buffalo Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt could be picked.
Sure, it was expected centers Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick would go first and second overall Friday, and they did. But after that, several guys like Mittelstadt were pegged to go anywhere from third or fourth or ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Thanks to his famous name and a 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame, NHL Draft prospect Callan Foote has eyes on him whenever he hits the ice.
Foote, 18, usually doesn’t disappoint, either. A defenseman like his father, two-time Stanley Cup winner Adam Foote, he can dominate a game when he utilizes his big body, NHL Central Scouting’s Dave Gregory said. The youngster also possesses a special ability to transition the puck, a key talent in ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Growing up in Winnipeg, top prospect Nolan Patrick’s allegiance changed whenever his uncle, former NHL player and coach James Patrick, switched teams. So for most of his childhood, he rooted for the Sabres.
“Buffalo was my favorite team growing up,” Patrick said this afternoon following fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine inside HarborCenter. “I watched them a lot. It was mostly my favorite team just because he was coaching there, so I ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres winger Tyler Ennis said undersized NHL players – a “brotherhood,” he called them – share “an unspoken bond.”
Small players, of course, have the odds stacked against them. Only they can truly understand what they endured to make the league.
Fifteen or 20 years ago, it was even tougher for them to crack the NHL. That’s why Ennis, who’s listed at 5-foot-9, grew up idolizing diminutive stars, including 5-foot-7 Sabres captain Brian ... Read the full article