Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Sabres’

Though his rebuilding job is far from complete, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams signed a contract extension on Wednesday, an indication that ownership believes he has the franchise pointed in the right direction.

Terms of the extension were not revealed. Adams, who’s in his third season as GM, signed the deal as players reported for the start of training camp.

The team that has undergone a significant transformation since Adams — a former NHL player with no hockey management experience — was promoted from a job on the team’s business side following the abrupt firing of Jason Botterill in June 2020.

In that time, the Sabres have changed coaches, going from Ralph Krueger to Don Granato, and purged much of the core of their team, highlighted by the trade that sent captain Jack Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights in November.

Adams’ plan was to rebuild the Sabres through youth and around players who valued being in Buffalo. What remains unfinished is the Sabres contending for a playoff spot to end an 11-year postseason drought which now ranks as the longest in NHL history.

“Kevyn’s leadership and vision over the past two seasons has proven invaluable, and I’m confident in his ability to continue move us forward as an organization,” owner Terry Pegula said in statement. “I, along with fans and community, am happy to see Kevyn continue to build a winning culture both on and off the ice.”

The Sabres showed signs of promise last season, closing 12-6-3 to finish with a 32-39-11 record. Buffalo finished fifth in the Atlantic Division, matching the team’s best since it was third in 2011-12.

More important, the Sabres were led by their youngsters, including center Tage Thompson, who scored a career-best 38 goals. Thompson blossomed under Granato after struggling during Krueger’s tenure.

Adams’ influence was also apparent from the impact of forwards Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs, who were acquired in the trade for Eichel. Through other moves, Adams has restocked the Sabres’ farm system with a series of first-round draft selections, and freed up space under the salary cap by ridding the team of overpriced and underperforming players.

The 47-year-old Adams is from the Buffalo area and enjoyed a 10-year NHL playing career. He won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.

After briefly serving as an agent, Adams joined the Sabres in 2009 in a player-development role and eventually served as an assistant coach. He also helped establish the Sabres-backed Academy of Hockey program, and was the team’s vice president of business operations when he took over as general manager.

The Buffalo Sabres signed forward Tage Thompson to a seven-year extension worth $50 million on Tuesday.

The new pact begins in 2023-24. Thompson has one year remaining on his current deal with a cap hit of $1.4 million. The 24-year-old would have become a restricted free agent once the contract expired.

Thompson broke through this past campaign with 38 goals in 78 contests. The production by far eclipsed his previous career high of eight tallies in 2020-21.

“Tage Thompson embodies the pride we expect from every player who wears the Buffalo Sabres sweater,” Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said. “His success last season is a testament to his unrelenting dedication to his craft and commitment to bettering the team both on and off the ice, which we believe will help us reach even greater heights moving forward.”

The Arizona native also paced the Sabres with 68 points and a productive 0.87 point-per-game rate.

Thompson stands at a towering 6-foot-7 and ranked third among Sabres forwards with 66 hits in 2021-22.

Selected by St. Louis in the first round of the 2016 draft, Buffalo acquired Thompson in 2018 as part of the package that sent Ryan O’Reilly to the Blues.

Thompson has 56 goals and 47 assists in 223 career NHL games.

Veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera retired from the NHL after 16 seasons Monday.

“My hockey career is over,” Sekera told Slovakian newspaper SME, per NHL.com. “I’ve had some offers as a free agent, but still, I decided to quit.

“A big reason was my son had some medical issues during the last year. After everything we went through, I realized the best (thing) would be if I devoted more time to my family. I thought maybe it would turn around somehow, but that did not happen.”

Sekera spent the first seven years of his career in Western New York after being drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the third round in 2004. Following brief stints with the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings, he joined the Oilers in 2015 and spent four campaigns in Edmonton. He played for the Dallas Stars in his final three seasons.

The 6-feet, 200-pound blue-liner skated in 842 career games, registering 253 points. Sekera only recorded three seasons of at least 30 points, but he was criminally underrated during his prime years.

Sekera didn’t win a Stanley Cup in his career, but he came close in 2020 with the Stars, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final.

The 36-year-old also represented Slovakia at numerous international events, notably taking home a silver medal at the 2012 World Championship.

Ottawa Senators goalie Matt Murray apparently could’ve found himself with the Buffalo Sabres if it wasn’t for his no-trade clause.

The Sens and Sabres were in deep trade talks about the netminder, but Buffalo is on Murray’s 10-team no-trade list, and he was unwilling to waive, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The trade would’ve included Ottawa swapping its seventh overall selection for Buffalo’s No. 16 pick and the Sens retaining a portion of Murray’s salary, reports TSN’s Darren Dreger.

The Pittsburgh Penguins traded Murray to the Senators in October 2020 in exchange for a second-round pick and a prospect. Two days later, he signed a four-year contract with an average annual value of $6.25 million.

The 28-year-old has only appeared in 47 games across two seasons with Ottawa due to injuries and lackluster play, and he’s sported a .899 save percentage in that time. The Sens signed goaltender Anton Forsberg to an extension in March and also have Filip Gustavsson in the fold, so the team appears ready to move on from Murray.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the mix for Murray, and he would agree to a move there, according to Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch.

The two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins played his junior hockey with the Soo Greyhounds under current Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe.

The Sabres, meanwhile, have just one goalie under contract for next season in 41-year-old Craig Anderson. Buffalo also has $34 million in cap space and looks willing to use it to gain assets or, in this case, move up in the draft.

The Buffalo Sabres are bringing back veteran netminder Craig Anderson on a one-year, $1.5-million contract, the team announced Thursday.

It will be the 20th NHL season of the 41-year-old’s career.

Anderson posted a .897 save percentage and 3.12 goals-against average in 31 games with the Sabres last season.

“He gave us a chance to win when he was in the net,” Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said Tuesday during an appearance on WGR 550.

“He played well, and he also gave our team confidence. When you look at our young D corps, just that kind of mentorship that he showed I think really went a long way for some of our defensemen.”

Barring any further additions in goal, Anderson projects to share the crease with 2017 second-round pick Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen next season.

The Dallas Stars traded former goaltender Ben Bishop‘s contract and a 2022 seventh-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for future considerations, both teams announced Friday.

Bishop, 35, hasn’t suited up for a regular-season NHL contest since March 2020. He started three games for the Stars in the 2020 playoff bubble in August.

The veteran hung up his pads in December due to a knee injury. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in October 2020 and was sent to the AHL’s Texas Stars on a rehab assignment in 2021-22. He allowed eight goals on 34 shots in his only appearance.

Bishop has one year remaining on his deal and carries a $4.9-million cap hit. The trade helps the Sabres get closer to the salary-cap floor, while the Stars gain more roster flexibility by getting Bishop off their long-term injured reserve.

The three-time Vezina Trophy finalist authored a career .921 save percentage and 2.32 goals-against average in 413 appearances. Bishop was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the third round in 2005 and also played for the Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Los Angeles Kings.

The Buffalo Sabres will raise Ryan Miller’s No. 30 to the rafters in 2022-23.

Miller spent more than the first decade of his career with the Sabres before retiring as a member of the Anaheim Ducks following the 2021 campaign.

The Michigan-born former goaltender will join Hockey Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek as the only two netminders in franchise history to have their number retired.

Miller is the Sabres’ all-time leader in games played at the position (540), wins (284), and saves (14,847). He’s tied with Robin Lehner for second on the team in save percentage (.916) among those who played at least 30 games.

The 18-year veteran, who’ll turn 42 in July, is the winningest U.S.-born goalie in NHL history (391) and the all-time leader in games played by an American puck-stopper (796).

Miller helped the Sabres make back-to-back conference final appearances in 2005-06 (his first full season) and 2006-07. He won the Vezina Trophy with the club in 2009-10 after going 41-18-8 with a .929 save percentage in 69 contests.

The netminder was also phenomenal for the U.S. at the 2010 Olympic Games, posting a .946 save percentage and leading the Americans to the gold medal game, which they lost to Canada in overtime.

Buffalo has retired seven players’ numbers:

PLAYERNUMBER
Tim Horton2
Rick Martin7
Gilbert Perreault11
Rene Robert14
Pat LaFontaine16
Danny Gare18
Dominik Hasek39

The Sabres raised Hasek’s jersey to the rafters in 2015.

Owen Power, the Buffalo Sabres‘ first overall pick in 2021, is headed to the NHL.

The 19-year-old defenseman signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Sabres on Friday.

Buffalo teased his arrival with a cheeky video of a phone regaining battery power moments before making the official announcement.

Power put up three goals and 29 assists in 33 games with Michigan this season and led the team with 50 blocked shots. The Wolverines fell to Denver in the Frozen Four semifinals on Thursday.

He’s going to wear No. 25 with the Sabres.

Power was a force for Canada during the 2022 world juniors, scoring five points in two games before the tournament’s cancelation. Power also became the first Canadian blue-liner ever to notch a hat trick at the tourney.

He went on to represent Canada at the 2022 Beijing Games, logging one assist in five contests while leading the team in ice time.

The 6-foot-6, 213-pound rearguard also dazzled at the IIHF World Championship in 2021, helping Canada win gold while averaging 20 minutes of ice time per contest.

Power became the first No. 1 pick since Erik Johnson in 2006 to hold off on turning pro, deciding instead to return to Michigan for his sophomore season. His 2020-21 freshman campaign ended unexpectedly when the Wolverines had to forfeit their first NCAA Tournament game due to COVID-19.

Buffalo was officially eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday, but Power’s presence will garner plenty of excitement as the Sabres play out their final 10 games of the season.

The Sabres are currently on the road and have three games left on this trip: Friday against the Florida Panthers, Sunday versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, and a Tuesday clash against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Power, a native of Mississauga, caps off his college career with six goals and 42 assists in 59 games as a Wolverine. He was named a finalist for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year this season.

Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal each scored two goals and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 and clinch a playoff berth Thursday night.

Aho’s go-ahead goal came with 8:21 remaining, propelling the Hurricanes to the 100-point mark (46-17-8) for just the second time in franchise history. They have 11 games remaining.

Teuvo Teravainen also scored for the Hurricanes, while Staal’s second goal was an empty-netter with 54.3 seconds to play. Andrei Svechnikov delivered passes on both of Aho’s goals and Seth Jarvis also was credited with two assists. Antti Raanta stopped 18 for his first victory since March 26.

Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch, and Victor Olofsson scored for the Sabres, who lost in regulation for the second time in the last 11 games. Former Hurricanes standout Jeff Skinner set up Buffalo’s first two goals with pinpoint passes. Craig Anderson made 27 saves.

The Sabres were in their first game since they were officially eliminated from playoff contention while idle Wednesday night, stretching their postseason drought to an NHL-record 11 seasons.

Staal tied the game at 5:12 of the third period to start a three-goal period for Carolina.

Skinner’s backhanded pass from along the boards found Thompson in ideal position heading toward the net for a 1-0 lead 3:49 into the game. Buffalo struck again less than three minutes later with Skinner feeding Tuch right in front of the net.

That gave the Sabres two goals on their first two shots of the game. They were outshot 12-6 in the first period.

The Hurricanes took their turn with a nifty goal when Aho converted off Svechnikov’s pass.

That didn’t result in momentum because the Sabres had another goal 30 seconds later, with Olofsson taking Casey Mittelstadt’s pass in front of the net and beating Raanta.

Teravainen’s unassisted goal late in the second period pulled Carolina within one.

This was a rematch of Buffalo’s 4-2 win Tuesday night at home.

GOALS GUYS

The top goal scorers for both teams found the net. Aho has 33 goals after his seventh two-goal game of the season. It was his first multi-goal outing since Feb. 10 at Boston. Thompson notched his 32nd goal of the season, increasing his career-high total.

CRANK IT UP

Just three nights after playing in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game, Brady Manek of North Carolina cranked the siren as the Hurricanes took the ice prior to the game. The team often has celebrity guests handle that honor. North Carolina beat rival Duke in the Final Four semifinals before falling to Kansas in Monday night’s title game in New Orleans.

UP NEXT

Sabres: At Florida on Friday night.

Hurricanes: Host New York Islanders on Friday night.

The Buffalo Sabres didn’t play Wednesday night, but they still managed to set a dubious historical benchmark.

The Sabres were officially eliminated from playoff contention when the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. Buffalo has now failed to qualify for the postseason in a league-worst 11 straight seasons.

They haven’t suited up for the playoffs since 2011 when the Philadelphia Flyers knocked them out in the opening round.

Entering the 2021-22 campaign, Buffalo was tied with the Florida Panthers (2001-11) and Edmonton Oilers (2007-16) for the longest postseason drought in NHL history. The Sabres seemed doomed to break the record thanks in part to being in the brutally tough Atlantic Division.

It wasn’t an entirely lost season for the Sabres, though. Buffalo was finally able to resolve the Jack Eichel saga, trading the former captain and a third-round draft pick in early November to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Alex TuchPeyton Krebs, a first-round selection, and a second-rounder.

Tuch, who grew up rooting for the Sabres, quickly endeared himself to the fan base both on and off the ice. The talented forward has logged nine goals and 22 assists in 39 games as a Sabre, and he’s signed for four more seasons.

Meanwhile, Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin are both having strong seasons. Thompson, 24, leads all Sabres with 55 points in 67 contests and has lit the lamp 31 times so far, blowing by his previous career high of eight goals.

Dahlin, 21, has 44 points in 69 games this season, good for third on the Sabres. He also leads all Buffalo skaters in ice time while averaging almost 24 minutes per contest. The 2018 first overall pick has shown promise while taking on increased responsibilities this season. He was also named to his first All-Star Game.

The Sabres currently sit 25th in the league with a 26-34-11 record but are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games.