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

Cody Hodgson scored six goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Awful season costs Cody Hodgson job with Sabres

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s Sabres career is over.

The team put the struggling winger on unconditional waivers Monday, meaning the final four seasons of his six-year, $25.5 million contract will be bought out for one-third the remaining value since he’s under 26 years old.

The Sabres owe him $6.333 million over the next eight years, money that will count against the salary cap until 2022-23, according to generalfanager.com. They must absorb a $1,041,666 hit ... Read the full article

Ryan O’Reilly spent six seasons in Colorado. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Ryan O’Reilly excited to join Sabres; Phil Housley elected to Hall of Fame

BUFFALO – Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly’s ready to tackle a new challenge. During his first six NHL seasons, the 24-year-old wasn’t viewed as one of the Avalanche’s leaders. Colorado stars Matt Duchesne, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon often overshadowed him.

But O’Reilly, acquired in a blockbuster deal Friday at the NHL Draft, will have a new role next season. The Sabres want him to be one of the guys to shepherd a team filled with ... Read the full article

Sabres general manager Tim Murray is offering Mikhail Grigorenko a two-way contract. ©2015, Margaret Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres want Mikhail Grigorenko to spend more time in minors

BUFFALO – General manager Tim Murray knows 21-year-old center Mikhail Grigorenko is frustrated the Sabres are offering a two-way contract. The restricted free agent dislikes the deal so much he’s reportedly fielding offers from the KHL, a league in his native Russia.

“I hear rumors,” Murray said Thursday during a news conference inside the First Niagara Center to discuss next week’s NHL Draft.

Clearly, the Sabres and Grigorenko’s camp have vastly different opinions of the ... Read the full article

Luke Adam has dominated in the AHL. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres assign 11 players to Amerks

BUFFALO – The Sabres sent 11 players to the Rochester Americans today, including forward Luke Adam, who must clear waivers.

The Sabres also sent forwards William Carrier, Dan Catenacci, Colin Jacobs, Justin Kea, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Kevin Sundher and Phil Varone and defensemen Brady Austin, Jerome Leduc and Chad Ruhwedel to the AHL.

In addition, the Sabres assigned forwards Justin Bailey and Brendan Lemieux back to their junior clubs.

Adam, who has 11 goals and ... Read the full article

Nikita Zadorov was sent back to junior early last season. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov believes strong training camp could earn NHL roster spot

BUFFALO – After a seven-game NHL trial as a rookie early last season, Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov feels ready for primetime. The 19-year-old defenseman believes an impressive training camp could force the Sabres to keep him.

“I’m a year older, a year stronger – everything,” Zadorov said earlier this week. “I have experience.”

Zadorov will be at least a few games richer in experience by next week, after the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, ... Read the full article

Jordan Samuels-Thomas was drafted by Atlanta. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres prospect Jordan Samuels-Thomas ready for fresh opportunity

BUFFALO – As a seventh-round pick, Jordan Samuels-Thomas faced some long odds to earn an NHL contract. But the 6-foot-4, 220-pound winger possesses size, a precious commodity in today’s game.

The Sabres have made it no secret they covet “heavy,” hard-to-play-against talent for their rebuild. So they shipped a 2015 seventh-rounder to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday for Samuels-Thomas’ rights.

They signed the Connecticut native to a one-year, two-way contract Saturday.

“I was ... Read the full article

Zemgus Girgensons spent all last season with the Sabres. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Plenty of intriguing Sabres prospects participating in development camp

BUFFALO – Some experts are already predicting the Sabres, a team three months removed from the worst NHL season in recent memory, will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in a few years.

Why? Their prospect pool might be the deepest in hockey.

Seven first-round picks are participating in the team’s development camp this week. Seven of the 41 prospects played in the NHL last season, including center Zemgus Girgensons, who spent the entire campaign ... Read the full article

Jordan Samuels-Thomas played four NCAA seasons. ©2014, Quinnipiac Athletics

Sabres sign Jordan Samuels-Thomas to entry-level deal

BUFFALO – The Sabres have signed winger Jordan Samuels-Thomas to a one-year, entry-level contract, the team announced today.

They sent a 2015 seventh-round pick to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday for the 24-year-old’s rights.

Samuels-Thomas, the 203rd overall pick by the Winnipeg franchise in 2009, compiled 50 goals, 104 points and 162 penalty minutes in 138 NCAA games over four seasons with Quinnipiac University and Bowling Green State University. He played two seasons with ... Read the full article

Jordan Samuels-Thomas had 50 goals in his NCAA career. ©2014, Quinnipiac Athletics

College coach on Sabres prospect Jordan Samuels-Thomas: ‘He’s got high-end potential’

BUFFALO – At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, new Sabres prospect Jordan Samuels-Thomas possesses a chiseled body ready for the pro game.

“He’s a man,” Rand Pecknold, Samuels’ coach at Quinnipiac University, said by phone this morning. “He’s as good of an athlete and (in) as good a physical shape as anyone in Buffalo’s organization. He’s phenomenal.”

That imposing frame will help the 24-year-old winger, who compiled 50 goals and 104 points over four NCAA seasons, ... Read the full article