BUFFALO – Don Granato first sensed it during the Sabres’ marathon offseason in 2020. Having been humbled by his demotion to the minors, Casey Mittelstadt grasped he had reached a critical juncture of his career.
When Granato, then an assistant coach, spoke to Mittelstadt, he could feel the center was evolving and maturing.
“He was putting all these pieces (together) of what people had presented to him,” Granato said following Wednesday’s practice.
Granato said Mittelstadt ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Jacob Bryson’s Sabres teammates wanted to hear a joke from him last season, so he figured, what the heck, why not write a funny rap about some of them?
The defenseman took 30 minutes, typed some lyrics and returned with a “song” to perform for them.
Bryson poked fun at Rasmus Ristolainen’s long goatee, Cody Eakin’s “orange” hair and Casey Mittelstadt’s penchant for using an ARP machine, which aids in recovery.
“I would ... Read the full article
BUFFALO – Sabres newcomer Robert Hagg knew the Philadelphia Flyers would aggressively overhaul their roster. Instead of contending for the Stanley Cup last season, they imploded after a hot start, finishing a disappointing sixth in the East Division.
“The year we had last year was awful with Philly,” said Hagg, who was acquired July 23 in exchange for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and two high draft picks. “So we kind of knew that something was going ... Read the full article
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
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
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 – Over the years, Zemgus Girgensons grew close to Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart, two of his many ex-Sabres teammates.
Girgensons and Ristolainen joined the NHL together as teenage rookies in 2013. Reinhart arrived two years later.
Before the Sabres traded them in July, they became a part of Girgensons’ everyday life. In his first days back at the rink this season, he still expects to see them.
“I walk around and I think ... Read the full article
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
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
Winger Isak Rosen’s selection by the Buffalo Sabres last month turned out to be a blip during a hectic NHL Draft weekend.
Consider that barely an hour before the Sabres drafted Rosen 14th overall July 23, they added a potentially franchise-altering asset by taking defenseman Owen Power with the first pick. Earlier that day, the Sabres traded defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers in the deal that netted them the pick they used to ... Read the full article