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

Don Granato has coached in college, junior and pro hockey. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

If Sabres pass on Don Granato, hiring an ex-NHL head coach could be wise move

Right now, Don Granato must wait as Kevyn Adams conducts what could be an exhaustive search for the Buffalo Sabres’ next head coach.

The general manager reiterated last week he plans to talk to a lot of people, so it might take several weeks before he makes the most critical decision of his short tenure.

If Adams gets it wrong, it will likely set the franchise back years.

Granato’s work transforming the Sabres as interim ... Read the full article

Arttu Ruotsalainen earned his first taste of the NHL this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres will have more representation at World Championship

Buffalo Sabres winger Arttu Ruotsalainen and J-J Peterka, one of the organization’s top forward prospects, will participate in World Championship later this month in Riga, Latvia.

Ruotsalainen, 23, will represent Team Finland after compiling five goals and six points in his first 17 NHL games this season. He started his first North American campaign with the Rochester Americans, scoring five goals and 13 points in 13 outings.

Before NHL and AHL seasons started, Ruotsalainen ... Read the full article

Injuries limited Linus Ullmark to only 20 games this season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ support helped goalie Linus Ullmark get through emotional season

Linus Ullmark needed to talk. For the goalie, sharing his feelings was therapeutic. So coaches, teammates and anyone in the Buffalo Sabres’ bubble became his support system during an emotional season.

Ullmark’s wife, Moa, and their two children, stayed home in Sweden this year. When his father, Jan-Olof, passed away in January, he had to mourn his loss without the comfort of his family.

But at the rink, Ullmark found an outlet for his grief.... Read the full article

Don Granato took over Buffalo on March 17. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ Kevyn Adams praises Don Granato, will talk to other candidates

Despite having interim status, Don Granato took a broad approach as Buffalo Sabres coach, opting for building and development over simply trying to win some games.

“I hate being a desperate team,” Granato said on an end-of-season Zoom call Wednesday. “Everybody can look and say, ‘My God, you’re in a desperate situation.’ Well, that’s fine if that’s your perception. But we’re not going to be a desperate team. We’re going to get better every day, ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt could be Buffalo’s top center next season. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres’ top young players excited for future: ‘Got a real good group here’

The contrast was stark. A day after Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen all essentially said they’d welcome a change of scenery after enduring years of losing and turmoil, several of the Sabres’ top young players spoke optimistically about their futures in Buffalo.

“Nothing but excitement,” winger Tage Thompson, 23, said on a Zoom call Tuesday as the Sabres held end-of-season meetings inside KeyBank Center after finishing dead last. “Obviously, we have ... Read the full article

Casey Mittelstadt started thriving under interim coach Don Granato. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Many Sabres thrived with Don Granato: ‘I owe Donnie a huge thank you’

When Don Granato took over the Buffalo Sabres, Casey Mittelstadt had mustered one goal while mostly being utilized as a third- or fourth-line winger in his limited action.

Mittelstadt, 22, ended the season as the Sabres’ No. 2 center. After stints in the minors and on the taxi squad over the last year and a half, he developed into a consistent scoring threat, compiling nine goals and 17 points in the final 22 games.

The ... 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

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

Drake Caggiulla has started finding a groove in Buffalo. ©2021, Micheline Veluvolu

Drake Caggiula excited for opportunity with Sabres, moving up lineup

Having played for four teams in three seasons, Buffalo Sabres winger Drake Caggiula understands how fleeting opportunities can be in the NHL.

Caggiula, a prized college free agent in 2016, has bounced around since the Edmonton Oilers traded him in December 2018, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes before the Sabres claimed him off waivers April 9.

The North Dakota product lasted only 27 games with the Coyotes after signing a one-year contract.... Read the full article