Buffalo drafted Ryan Johnson (left) and Erik Portillo in 2019. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospects Ryan Johnson, Erik Portillo could have futures in Buffalo

BUFFALO – Right now, Ryan Johnson acknowledged he’s leaning toward returning to Minnesota for his senior season. Still, the defense prospect hasn’t ruled out turning pro. He plans to use this week’s development camp to evaluate the Sabres.

“I could kind of see where the organization is,” said Johnson, a first-round pick in 2019, 31st overall.

Johnson, who turns 21 on July 24, said if he goes back to college, he could eventually sign with ... Read the full article

Ilya Lyubushkin spent last season with Arizona and Toronto. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

NHL Free Agent Tracker: Sabres sign goalie Eric Comrie, Ilya Lyubushkin

BUFFALO – The Sabres have landed their first free agents of the day, signing goalie Eric Comrie and defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin to two-year contracts.

Comrie’s deal is worth $3.6 million. Lyubushkin’s is worth $5.5 million.

The Sabres, of course, needed to find another goalie with NHL experience. They had just two – Craig Anderson and Malcolm Subban – under contract for the upcoming season.

... Read the full article

Rochester’s Brett Murray stands in front of Laval goalie Cayden Primeau on Wednesday. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Amerks’ season ends with triple OT loss: ‘An extremely special group’

ROCHESTER – The Americans battled adversity and beat long odds for weeks, eking into the Calder Cup Playoffs on the last day of the regular season before beginning their deepest and most memorable postseason run in 18 years.

They rallied to win games, earned four overtime victories and triumphed in a do-or-die Game 5 against a top seed.

So when the Amerks dropped the first two games on the road against the Laval Rocket in ... Read the full article

Utica’s Nolan Foote scores a first-period goal on Rochester goalie Aaron Dell on Tuesday.

Amerks fall to Comets, can’t close out series: ‘Wanted to finish it off now’

ROCHESTER – In opening up a series lead and putting the Utica Comets on the brink of elimination from the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Americans hadn’t seen the best out of the AHL powerhouse.

The top-seeded Comets only showcased flashes of their slick regular-season form throughout the first three games of best-of-five AHL North Division semifinal. In a do-or-die scenario Tuesday, you figured they would come out roaring.

Well, in Game 4, the Comets gave ... Read the full article

Victor Olofsson has two 20-goal seasons on his resume. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Victor Olofsson knows new contract will ‘take some time’

BUFFALO – Having experienced restricted free agency two years ago, Sabres winger Victor Olofsson understands he must stay patient this offseason.

Olofsson, 26, has already amassed two 20-goal seasons and has shown he possesses the talent to crack the 30-goal mark. Contracts like the one he’s expected to sign are complicated.

The Swede, who’s set to become an RFA again, expects it could take months to reach a new deal.... Read the full article

Jacob Bryson has missed four games. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres have healthy, intriguing defense corps with Jacob Bryson, Robert Hagg

BUFFALO – Of the seven defensemen the Sabres have kept all season, only two, Rasmus Dahlin and Mark Pysyk, have played more than 30 games.

Defensemen, of course, are often at a premium. The rugged nature of the position makes them susceptible to damage.

As injuries and COVID-19 cases recently mounted, Sabres coach Don Granato cobbled together a defense corps. He utilized two rookies, giving Casey Fitzgerald and Ethan Prow their first NHL action.

But ... Read the full article

Brett Murray has played 16 games for Buffalo this season. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Sabres send three players to Amerks; Casey Mittelstadt ‘excited’ about rehab

BUFFALO – The Sabres on Friday assigned forwards Brett Murray and Ryan MacInnis and defenseman Ethan Prow to the Rochester Americans.

The Sabres don’t play again until Tuesday, while the Amerks hosted the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday and play a road game against the Syracuse Crunch tonight.

All three played for the Amerks on Friday.

Murray, 23, had made 15 straight appearances with the Sabres. Overall this season, he has played 16 NHL games, ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner scored his 11th goal this season on Thursday. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres fall in early hole, lose to Sharks: ‘It was not good’

BUFFALO – Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks was just the Sabres’ fourth game in 20 days. Right now, they have six players sidelined by COVID-19 and another five out injured.

They’re rusty, having lost the rhythm of a season that rarely let up before COVID started wreaking havoc on the schedule again. And the rebuilding team was fielding one of the NHL’s weaker lineups before injuries and illness started decimating it.

The ... Read the full article

Don Granato caught a flight to Boston on Saturday morning. ©2022, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Don Granato leaves NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, travels to Boston

Don Granato’s Saturday began in the predawn hours in Buffalo. The coach knew he was close to clearing the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. So receiving good test results meant he join the Sabres in Boston for their matinee.

“I was waiting literally minute by minute in hopes of being here,” Granato said on a Zoom call prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Bruins at TD Garden.

When Granato received clearance, he hopped on ... Read the full article

Ethan Prow played in Germany last season before joining Buffalo’s organization. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Ethan Prow never lost belief he would crack NHL someday

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Ethan Prow spent much of his 20s toiling in the AHL, posting gaudy numbers and never earning even a cup of coffee in the NHL.

In 2018-19, Prow morphed into one of the league’s elite offensive defensemen, registering 18 goals and 50 points. The next year, after changing organizations, he recorded nine goals and 32 points during a shortened campaign.

A call to the big leagues never materialized, and last season, ... Read the full article