Buffalo drafted Brett Murray in 2016. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres prospect Brett Murray thrilled to make NHL debut: ‘At a loss for words’

Buffalo Sabres rookie Brett Murray experienced an unconventional path to the NHL, moving backwards before taking small steps forward.

Three years ago, Murray, who made his NHL debut in Thursday’s 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, left Penn State and returned to junior. Before last season, after making a stronger commitment to his conditioning, he received an AHL contract.

Murray, a fourth-round pick in 2016, 99th overall, parlayed a solid rookie campaign with the ... Read the full article

Stefanos Lekkas recently joined Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ex-Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas grateful for time with Sabres

BUFFALO – On April 10 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, goalie Stefanos Lekkas played his last game for the Komets, an ECHL team, allowing five goals in a loss to the Indy Fuel.

Twenty-three days later, Lekkas was in the NHL, serving as Sabres rookie Michael Houser’s backup for Monday’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center.

The memories of the night will forever be seared in Lekkas’ head.

“Just to go through ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen recently played his first four NHL games.

Sabres to be without three goalies rest of season

The Buffalo Sabres will be without goalies Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Dustin Tokarski and Carter Hutton for the final three games this season, interim coach Don Granato said.

Luukkonen, 22, left Saturday afternoon’s 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins after getting his left skate caught on the goal post.

Granato did not have much information on the Finn, who was examined Monday.

“As far as the details of the report, I don’t have those,” Granato said ... Read the full article

Buffalo goalie Michael Houser is embraced after Monday’s win by teammates Will Borgen (left) and Rasmus Ristolainen. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser shines in NHL debut: ‘A very special night’

BUFFALO – Eight teams, nine seasons and 284 games into his pro career, Sabres goalie Michael Houser made his NHL debut, stopping 34 shots in Monday’s 4-2 come-from-behind win over the New York Islanders.

In a dreadful year in which the Sabres could finish dead last again, Houser’s first big league start created a feel-good story that provided some excitement and intrigue to a meaningless late-season game.

Houser, 28, has spent most of his career ... Read the full article

Stefanos Lekkas has played seven games with Rochester. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres sign Amerks goalie Stefanos Lekkas to PTO, make other moves

BUFFALO – The Sabres this afternoon signed Rochester Americans goalie Stefanos Lekkas to a professional tryout contract and he will back up Michael Houser tonight against the New York Islanders.

Sabres assistant coach Mike Bales, a former NHL goalie, will serve as the emergency backup, according to the team.

Goalie Dustin Tokarski, who was expected to start tonight, did not skate this morning. Tokarski relieved goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen when he was injured in Saturday ... Read the full article

Michael Houser has spent nine seasons in the minors. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser to realize dream with first NHL start

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Michael Houser toiled nine years in the minors, playing 283 games, most of them in the ECHL, for seven teams before an opportunity to start an NHL game materialized.

Tonight against the New York Islanders at KeyBank Center, Houser, 28, will make his NHL debut, interim coach Don Granato said. Houser will be the sixth Sabres goalie to start a game this season.

Houser has spent most of the past seven ... Read the full article

Michael Houser is receiving his first taste of the NHL with Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres goalie Michael Houser enjoying first taste of NHL: ‘Cool experiences’

BUFFALO – Sabres goalie Michael Houser arrived at the visiting dressing room that night six weeks ago in Madison Square Garden sweating.

Minutes earlier, Houser, 28, had been watching the action against the New York Rangers from a suite with other members of the team’s taxi squad.

Then Carter Hutton suffered a lower-body injury less than three minutes into the game, meaning Houser, the emergency backup, had to rush downstairs and get ready.

“I had ... Read the full article

Ryan Miller is Buffalo’s all-time wins leader. ©2021, Dan Hickling

Former Sabres star Ryan Miller to retire; Buffalo still special place for goalie

Ryan Miller felt he owed something to Buffalo. Having arrived as a 22-year-old fresh out of Michigan State, the ex-Sabres goalie experienced a lot of firsts in the city.

“Buffalo is always going to have a big part of my heart,” an emotional Miller said on a Zoom call Thursday to announce his retirement at the conclusion of this season. “I feel like I really grew up there.”

So Miller, the Sabres’ all-time wins leader, ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen has quickly earned regular duty in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres rookie Arttu Ruotsalainen scoring, earning keep in NHL

When Don Granato arrived in Buffalo as an assistant in 2019, the idea of someday coaching a relatively unknown Sabres prospect named Arttu Ruotsalainen intrigued him.

Granato, now Buffalo’s interim coach, only watched Ruotsalainen, 23, up close for a few weeks in training camp. The Finn’s contract stipulated he had to return to Ilves, his Liiga team, if he did not make the Sabres last season.

Still, Granato’s brief time around the 5-foot-9, 185-pound ... Read the full article

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked strong in his NHL debut Friday. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres should keep playing goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

BUFFALO – Get this straight: Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen isn’t ready for regular NHL duty.

In the coming weeks or at the beginning of next season, he will likely return to Rochester, where he can carry the load for the Americans and keep developing.

Luukkonen looked terrific for most of his NHL debut, stopping 36 shots in Friday’s 6-4 win over the Boston Bruins. But he needs more seasoning. The Sabres’ top goalie prospect has ... Read the full article