Jacob Markstrom received a six-year contract from Calgary. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres sign three depth players during odd day of free agency

The COVID-19 pandemic promised to make this offseason unusual.

NHL teams have generated little or no revenue over the past seven months. The league has frozen the salary cap at $81.5 million for 2020-21, a season it would like to start in January. That, of course, could be difficult.

The uncertainty surrounding the season created an odd opening day of free agency Friday. Many teams are operating on internal budgets far below the cap.

Instead ... Read the full article

Johan Larsson has played seven seasons with the Sabres. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Johan Larsson’s long career with Sabres could be over

Johan Larsson looked looser early last season. The Sabres center, affectionately nicknamed “Angry Larry,” even occasionally smiled, a rarity throughout his turbulent seven-year career in Buffalo.

Naturally, as the season progressed, the Sabres’ annual implosion sapped some of his happiness.

Still, Larsson, 28, enjoyed perhaps his best NHL campaign. The tenacious Swede entrenched himself between Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo early in 2019-20, helping the trio morph into one of the league’s best checking ... Read the full article

Wayne Simmonds joined the Sabres in February. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Wayne Simmonds member of new Hockey Diversity Alliance

Buffalo Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds is one of seven founding members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, a new coalition created by active and retired NHL players of color “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.”

The HDA also includes Akim Aliu, Trevor Daley, Matt Dumba, Joel Ward and former Sabres Evander Kane and Chris Stewart.

“We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within our game of hockey, but also ... Read the full article

Wayne Simmonds hasn't experienced a win with the Sabres. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Wayne Simmonds doesn’t regret waiving no-trade clause

BUFFALO – Wayne Simmonds doesn’t regret waiving his no-trade clause to join the Sabres two weeks ago.

The Sabres, having crept within six points of a playoff spot, wanted the respected veteran winger to help their push. Meanwhile, Simmonds, an unrestricted free agent following the season, wanted a fresh opportunity after enduring a rough campaign.

So far, the deal – the Sabres sent the New Jersey Devils a conditional fifth-round pick – hasn’t paid many ... Read the full article

Jimm Vesey was scratched Saturday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Struggling Sabres haven’t quit on rough season

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ season certainly turned quickly. Two weeks ago today, they stood six points out of a playoff spot and acquired forwards Dominik Kahun and Wayne Simmonds before the trade deadline.

Today, having lost six straight games in regulation, they’re 13 points out.

How bad is it getting? The Sabres haven’t dropped seven straight contests in regulation since their marathon 14-game losing streak halfway through the 2014-15 season. That, of course, was the ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has started scoring goals again. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger finally puts Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner back together

BUFFALO – For 67 games this season, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger refused to play center Jack Eichel and winger Jeff Skinner together for any notable stretch.

Other than some occasional shifts, Krueger kept the lethal duo separated before reuniting them for Friday’s practice inside Harborcenter.

Krueger has often explained he likes balancing the lines by placing a defensive presence on each one. So Skinner, who scored a career-high 40 goals playing beside Eichel last season, ... Read the full article

Jake McCabe scores a short-handed breakaway goal against Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray on Thursday. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ inability to score goals again dooms them in loss to Penguins

BUFFALO – Having dropped all four games of their recent road trip, the Sabres sealed their fate long before Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While the Sabres haven’t officially been eliminated from the playoffs, they will earn their eighth straight DNQ in the coming weeks.

Barely two weeks ago, the Sabres’ slick offense helped them roar back into the playoff race. They scored 23 goals over a six-game stretch, winning five times.

They ... Read the full article

Conor Sheary returned to Pittsburgh last week. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Former Sabres Conor Sheary, Evan Rodrigues fitting in with Penguins

BUFFALO – In a little less than two seasons with the Sabres, Conor Sheary rarely played beside top center Jack Eichel. Instead, the winger often shuffled between the second and third lines as he struggled to score goals.

But in the four games since the Sabres traded him back to the Pittsburgh Penguins with forward Evan Rodrigues on Feb. 24, Sheary has received a plum assignment, skating beside superstar Sidney Crosby.

Sheary has gone from ... Read the full article

Wayne Simmonds skates away from his new teammate, Rasmus Ristolainen, earlier this season. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Wayne Simmonds thrilled to join Sabres: ‘A perfect opportunity for me’

BUFFALO – Sabres newcomer Wayne Simmonds has a reached a critical point in his career. The 12-year veteran needs to play meaningful games. Staying another six weeks with the hapless New Jersey Devils wouldn’t have helped him much.

Simmonds, 31, has endured the worst season of his NHL career. Given his age and declining production – just eight goals in 61 games this season – he needs to demonstrate he still possesses the skills that ... Read the full article

Wayne Simmonds waived his no-trade clause to leave New Jersey. ©2020, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres deal aggressively, trade for Wayne Simmonds, Dominik Kahun

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ core group of young players has never played a meaningful late-season NHL game. This upcoming stretch will be a new experience.

A perfect weekend moved the Sabres to within six points of the Atlantic Division’s final playoff spot with 20 games remaining. A team given up for dead has roared back into the postseason hunt.

So Sabres general manager Jason Botterill dealt aggressively before Monday’s trade deadline, acquiring winger Wayne Simmonds... Read the full article