Vinnie Hinostroza scored a career-high 16 goals in 2018-19. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Don Granato’s honesty helped Vinnie Hinstroza choose Sabres

BUFFALO – When Don Granato hung up the phone that day in July, he believed Vinnie Hinostroza wouldn’t be excited about the opportunities the Sabres could offer him.

Granato refuses to oversell players. He was blunt with Hinostroza, a winger he coached with the Chicago Blackhawks, and challenged him. He told him he couldn’t make any promises and earning ice time wouldn’t be easy.

But Granato’s transparency turned out to be a big selling point. ... Read the full article

©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Why did Victor Olofsson change his number again?

BUFFALO – Three years into his NHL career, Sabres winger Victor Olofsson is already sporting his third number.

The Swede recently switched to No. 71 after having No. 68 for two seasons. He also briefly wore No. 41 for his first six NHL games late in the 2018-19 season.

Why did Olofsson pick new digits? When he broke into the NHL, No. 71, one of his favorite numbers, was worn by Evan Rodrigues, a forward ... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund enjoyed regular duty late last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres re-sign Rasmus Asplund, ink Ryan MacInnis

The Buffalo Sabres have rewarded Rasmus Asplund’s breakout stretch late last season, re-signing the restricted free agent to a two-year, $1.65 million contract, the team announced Friday.

Asplund, 23, had a career-best run after coach Don Granato took over as coach, scoring six of his seven goals and 10 of his 11 points in 23 games. He tied for fifth in goal scoring on the Sabres with winger Jeff Skinner, who played 25 more contests.... Read the full article

Ramsus Ristolainen has never played an NHL playoff game. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Ex-Sabre Rasmus Ristolainen welcomes fresh start after trade to Flyers

BUFFALO – In defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s first eight seasons, the Sabres morphed into the NHL’s laughingstock, finishing dead last four times and winning barely one-third of their games.

The constant losing and turmoil – Ristolainen played for a whopping six coaches and four general mangers, stunning numbers that illustrate the Sabres’ futility – wore on him. The straight-shooting Finn often voiced his frustration.

On Friday afternoon, hours before the Sabres picked Michigan defenseman Owen Power... Read the full article

There had been speculation Buffalo would expose Rasmus Ristolainen to Seattle. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

NHL releases Sabres’ protected list for Expansion Draft

Sorry, Ron Francis, you won’t get a chance to snatch Rasmus Ristolainen for your Seattle Kraken defense corps. The Buffalo Sabres protected the Finn for Wednesday’s NHL Expansion Draft.

But if Francis, Seattle’s general manager, wants to grab a defenseman from the Sabres, he can take Will Borgen or Colin Miller, both of whom were left unprotected.

The Sabres’ 11-man protected list the NHL released Sunday morning features zero surprises. There had been speculation the ... Read the full article

Will Borgen played 10 games for Buffalo last season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres could lose valuable young player to Kraken in NHL Expansion Draft

Since the Buffalo Sabres drafted Will Borgen 92nd overall in 2015, he has morphed from a relatively unknown prospect into a defenseman on the cusp of regular NHL duty.

The Sabres have guided Borgen’s development from his college career at St. Cloud State through his early pro days with the Rochester Americans to the big leagues.

Prior to breaking his forearm last season, Borgen, 24, appeared to be close to securing a spot on Buffalo’s ... Read the full article

Jeff Skinner has struggled over the past two seasons. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Jeff Skinner waives no-movement clause for Expansion Draft

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner has waived his no-movement clause for the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft, his agent, Don Meehan, confirmed to the Times Herald on Wednesday.

Skinner’s decision is significant. The Sabres can use his spot to protect a young forward – perhaps Rasmus Asplund, Anders Bjork or Tage Thompson – who could’ve been exposed to the Seattle Kraken next Wednesday.

Skinner, 29, has struggled since signing an eight-year, $72 million contract ... Read the full article

The Sabres could ask Jeff Skinner to waive his no-movement clause. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres must make difficult decisions before NHL Expansion Draft

Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams knows all about the expansion draft, having been picked in it 20 years ago this month by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In 2000, Adams was a 25-year-old forward fresh off playing 52 regular-season games and another 12 playoff contests for the Toronto Maple Leafs. After spending most of the previous three seasons in the minors, he had finally arrived in the big leagues.

Adams remembers Toronto GM Pat Quinn ... Read the full article

Rasmus Asplund scored seven goals in 28 games this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Confident Rasmus Asplund feels ready for regular duty with Sabres

Sabres winger Rasmus Asplund targeted 2021 from the get-go. By his third season in North America, the Swede wanted to be ready to stick in Buffalo.

Sure enough, Asplund, 23, accomplished his goal, playing the final 21 games of the year under interim Sabres coach Don Granato.

Considering Asplund was a spare part until April, his emergence ranks as one of the season’s biggest surprises.

Yes, Asplund, one of Buffalo’s top-rated prospects, was expected ... Read the full article

Michael Houser won his first two NHL games before Thursday’s blowout loss. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres don’t help Michael Houser, get throttled by Penguins: ‘We owe him’

Almost eight minutes into Thursday’s second period, after the Penguins scored twice in a minute and grabbed a two-goal lead, it became apparent Sabres goalie Michael Houser wouldn’t enjoy a warm homecoming in Pittsburgh.

After winning his first two NHL games in Buffalo, Houser, 28, became the league’s feel-good story. A victory before about 20 family members and friends watching inside PPG Paints Arena would’ve made the most incredible week of his career even more ... Read the full article