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Day Two of Sabres development camp: Scrimmage tonight at 7

The highlight of Day Two of the Sabres development camp -- and perhaps the top event of the entire week -- is tonight's 7 p.m. scrimmage at First Niagara Center. 

There is no admission charge and parking will be free in the arena ramp. Doors open at 6 p.m.

There will be three 20-minute periods with stopped time.

The Sabres will live-stream the scrimmage at Sabres.com, with Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray calling the game and Brian Duff doing intermission interviews.

The public can also watch today’s game-day practices, which start at 10:15 a.m. and run until about 12:45 p.m.

Get caught up on Monday's first day of camp: 

Essential development camp info:

Reinhart thrilled to be on the ice with his first contract in tow (with AUDIO)

Sam Reinhart takes part in a drill early in Monday's Sabres development camp. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)
Sam Reinhart takes part in a drill early in Monday's Sabres development camp. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)


By Mike Harrington

The Sam Reinhart Era in Buffalo took hold a couple of weeks ago at the NHL Draft in Philadelphia. But it began for real today when the Sabres' most highly-regarded draft pick of the last 27 years took the First Niagara Center ice in front of fans for the first time Monday morning.

"It was great," Reinhart said. "It was a thrill to have that all over with and finally come here. It's a lot more comforting knowing all that's over and you can really get down to business, enjoy the week and the first experience at an NHL level. I'm just kind of taking it in stride and enjoying the process."

Reinhart showed the kind of hands befitting a No. 2 overall pick in several drills and didn't shy away from any contact. Several hundred fans were in the house for the first public workouts of the week. Reinhart spoke for a few minutes to reporters Friday night after throwing the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Bisons' game at Coca-Cola Field, then signed his three-year, entry-level contract on Saturday.

"Obviously it was really exciting and an honor for me to be signed by this organization," Reinhart said today. "I'm really thankful for that. At the end of the day, it's one step closer to my ultimate goal. And my goal is to be here next year and to make an impact. It makes me feel more comfortable and gives me some confidence out there. It doesn't change anything at the end of the day. If I continue to work and prepare for what comes ahead, I know I'll be fine."

(Aside here: Don't panic. Reinhart said "next year" a couple of times in the interview. He means the 2014-15 season).

Live from opening day of Sabres development camp

The Buffalo Sabres' development camp opens today at First Niagara Center. 

Here's today's primer of what to watch for from Mike Harrington.

Here's the development camp schedule, roster and more

And below you can monitor live Twitter updates from Harrington, Taylor Nigrelli and photojournalist James P. McCoy: 

Live Blog Live from opening of Sabres development camp

Development camp primer: What to Watch this week


Sam Reinhart's first-pitch Friday night in Coca-Cola Field (Sabres.com video)

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres open their annual summer development camp today in First Niagara Center with a practice at 10:30 a.m., so be sure to look for full coverage in print and here on the blog. Everything is open to the public, including Tuesday's scrimmage at 7 p.m. and Friday morning's 3-on-3 games at 10:30 a.m. There are no on-ice public activities on Wednesday.

Click here for our photo gallery of top D-camp attractions

With the franchise's rebuild in full-speed-ahead mode, this figures to be a pretty interesting week to watch a little hockey. Or a lot, if you so choose. Here's a few things I'll be watching for:

1. Zemgus Girgensons -- Each year, there's always a player or two with NHL experience under his belt back at D-camp. (For instance, I remember Tyler Myers back at Niagara University in the summer of 2010 after he had won the Calder Trophy). It's always interesting to watch how that player carries himself now and how much others gravitate to him. It will be particularly noteworthy in the case of Girgensons, who is only 20 but played 70 NHL games and the Olympics for Latvia last season after playing 61 games in Rochester and the World Championships for his homeland in 2012-13. He is future captain material.

2. Sam Reinhart -- Every move by the new face of the franchise will be scrutinized, particularly in Tuesday night's scrimmage when we finally get to see him live in game action. The video at the top of this post recaps his night throwing the first pitch at the Bisons game on Friday, where he got a huge ovation from the crowd as he was introduced. He also unveiled his No. 23 (Farewell, Ville).

The team better have those available at The Sabres Store, and Tim Murray can knock off the he-has-to-earn-it stuff with this kid at least. He's better right now than many of the forwards who were on this team last year. He's not sniffing junior hockey again.

3. First-round picks -- The Sabres' last seven first-rounders will be at this camp. That's an astonishing achievement. The list includes Girgensons and Reinhart as well as Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Joel Armia and Mark Pysyk. Nine of the last 10 Buffalo first-rounders are still on the team, counting Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis. The lone exception is Zack Kassian -- and he was traded for Cody Hodgson in a swap of first-rounders. You could say the Sabres have 10 No. 1 picks in their system. Pretty darn impressive. That's how you improve. The word is Grigorenko has pushed his training envelope hard, as he needed to, and is closing in on 220 pounds. Interesting.

4. Ristolainen and Zadorov -- Last year's No. 1s both had strong first seasons in the organization, with Ristolainen really blossoming in Rochester after scoring the Golden Goal for Finland at the World Juniors and Zadorov competing in the Memorial Cup for London. Both got a taste of the NHL too. Ristolainen is a good bet to make the Sabres this year. Let's see how much more advanced they are.

5. The local products -- Justin Bailey and Sean Malone were both drafted last year and participated in this camp. Bailey had 43 points in 54 games for Kitchener in the OHL last season while Malone had 20 points in 31 games in his first season at Harvard. 

6. 2014 draft picks -- They're all expected to be here, so it will be our first look at Brendan Lemieux, Eric Cornel and others.

7. Goaltenders -- Nathan Lieuwen, who was felled by a concussion late in the Sabres' season, is scheduled to take part. So are burgeoning prospects like Andrey Makarov, Linus Ullmark and Cal Peterson. And 2014 draftee Jonas Johansson. This is a make-or-break year for Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth. Lots of prospects in the pipeline.

8. Newcomers -- I'll have my eye on three in particular: University of Minnesota winger Hudson Fasching, acquired from Los Angeles at the trade deadline; winger William Carrier, a point-a-game player in the Quebec League acquired from St. Louis in the Ryan Miller/Steve Ott trade; and winger Jordan Samuels-Thomas, the intriguing college prospect acquired from Winnipeg last week who the Sabres signed to a one-year deal when he would have become a free agent in August. 

* * *

Click here for LIVE updates from Monday's first practice of development camp.

Latest FA addition: Former Canucks F Dalpe

Dalpe
Zac Dalpe played 55 games for Vancouver last season.

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres continued to bolster their depth today by announcing the signing of forward Zac Dalpe (right) to a one-year contract. Dalpe, 24, is a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder who had four goals and three assists last year in a career-high 55 games for Vancouver. He is predominantly a right winger.

A former second-round draft pick (45th overall by Carolina in 2008), Dalpe has appeared in 96 NHL games with the Canucks and Hurricanes. He was an All-AHL player in 2011 for Charlotte after putting up 23 goals and 57 points in 61 games.

See Dalpe's career record here.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Dalpe had a two-way contract last year with Vancouver that paid him $550,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL. He'll compete for a fourth-line spot with the Sabres at training camp and stands to be a good depth addition to fill the roster for Rochester as well.

Sabres ink Reinhart, Samuels-Thomas to entry-level deals

By Taylor Nigrelli 

The Buffalo Sabres took a baby step in the rebuilding process Saturday as the club announced it has agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Sam Reinhart.

The deal is an entry-level contract, stretching over three years and, according to a Buffalo News source, paying the maximum $925,000 per season.

The British Columbia native, whom the Sabres selected second overall in the NHL Entry Draft last month, was named the Western Hockey League’s Player of the Year for the 2013-14 season as a center for the Kootenay Ice.

“We are very excited to have Sam under contract,” said Sabres General Manager Tim Murray. “We look forward to watching him develop and become an important part of our organization in the future.”

Additionally, the Sabres agreed to a one-year deal with forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas. The two-way deal has an NHL rate of $640,000.

The Sabres acquired the rights to Samuels-Thomas Wednesday in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets. The team gave up a conditional seventh round pick in order to acquire the 24-year-old Quinnipiac University product.

Samuels-Thomas was originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the seventh round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft before the franchise moved to Winnipeg.

Both will be present for Sabres Development Camp, which opens Monday morning in First Niagara Center. 

Samuels-Thomas has tweeted the following messages about his signing:

Reinhart tosses out first pitch

by Amy Moritz

Sam Reinhart had one thought when throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Coca-Cola Field Friday night.

Don't skip the ball.

The pitch sailed a bit high and wide but Liam Hendriks, playing ceremonial catcher, snatched the ball. No wild pitch.

"It was a little nerve-wracking once I got on to the mound," Reinhart said. "It was a little higher than I wanted it to be but I knew that going in bouncing would not be the best-case scenario so I was just trying to focus on getting it there."

The overall No. 2 pick by the Sabres is back in town for the second time as the team's development camp begins on Monday.

And Reinhart is starting to get a taste of Buffalo.

"It’s cool coming here for the first time," Reinhart said. "I was in a week or two ago just for a day. It was pretty busy then so I didn’t see as much of it. I had a chance to walk around last night and today and to see first hand what it’s like in Buffalo so I'm excited to hopefully have a long future here.'

His future looks to be in a No. 23 sweater. That's the number he wore on his jersey Friday night.

That's the number Reinhart wore in juniors, but he laughed at the idea that he made any demands for that number of the Sabres organization.

"I wouldn’t say I told them," he said. "I asked them. I said I’d love to have it. I didn’t demand it by any means."

Sabres announce development camp roster: Schedule, roster, photo gallery

By Amy Moritz

The Buffalo Sabres announced the roster for its development camp Friday morning.

The camp opens at First Niagara Center on Monday, featuring an intrasquad scrimmage at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. This marks the third year the Sabres will hold its summer development camp at First Niagara Center.

The 41-player roster will take part in both on-ice and off-ice workouts with the goal to show prospective players the basics of the Sabres’ system along with conditioning programs for NHL players.

Tuesday's scrimmage and all on-ice workouts are open to the public.

The schedule: Practice from 10:30-12:15 p.m. on Monday; pre-scrimmage skates from 10:15-12:45 Tuesday; Tuesday's scrimmage at 7 p.m; Wednesday is an off day; Thursday practices from 10:30-noon and 1:30-3 p.m; Friday three-on-three tournament from 10:30-12:30.

Seven first-round selections taken by the Sabres will be at the camp: Mark Pysyk, Joel Armia, Mikhail Girgorenko, Zemgus Girgensons, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov along with this year's overall No. 2 pick Sam Reinhart.

Also in attendance will be this year's second-round pick Brendan Lemieux, college players J.T. Compher (Michigan) and Hudson Fasching (Minnesota) and Buffalo natives Justin Bailey and Sean Malone.

Camp invitees include (with their last team and level):

Forwards:

Joel Armia (Rochester, AHL), Justin Bailey (Kitchener, OHL), Nicholas Baptiste (Sudbury, OHL), Christopher Brown (Cranbrook Kingswood, USHS), Drake Caggiula (North Dakota, NCAA), William Carrier (Cape Breton, QMJHL), Daniel Catenacci (Rochester, AHL), J.T. Compher (Michigan, NCAA), Eric Cornel (Peterborough, OHL), Hudson Fasching (Minnesota, NCAA), Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo, NHL), Mikhail Girgorenko (Quebec, QMHL), Colin Jacobs (Rochester, AHL), Vaclav Karabacek (Gatineau, QMJHL), Justin Kea (Saginaw, OHL), Brendan Lemieux (Barrie, OHL),  Sean Malone  (Harvard, NCAA), Jonathon Martin (Kootenay, WHL), Victor Olofsson (Modo, Jr., Sweden), Liam Pecararo (Waterloo, USHL), Sam Reinhart (Kootenay, WHL), Patrick Russell (Waterloo, USHL), Jordan Samuels-Thoams (Quinnipiac, NCAA), Tim Schaller (Rochester, AHL), Kevin Sundher (Rochester, AHL) and Maxwell Willman (Williston-Northampton, USHS).

Defensemen:

Brady Austin (London, OHL), Anthony Florentino (Providence, NCAA), Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (Rochester, AHL), Brycen Martin (Swift Current, WHL), Jake McCabe (Buffalo, NHL), Andrew Prochno (St. Cloud State, NCAA), Brandon Prophet (Saginaw, OHL), Mark Pysyk (Rochester, AHL), Rasmus Ristolainen (Rochester, AHL), Nikita Zadorov (London, OHL).

Goaltenders:

Jonas Johansson (Brynas Jr., Sweden), Nathan Lieuwen (Rochester, AHL), Andry Makarov (Fort Wayne, ECHL), Cal Peterson (Waterloo, USHL), Linus Ullmark (Modo, Sweden).

The full roster is available for download here. 

* * * 

See PHOTO GALLERY of many of the players here.

It's 7-11-14: Wishing you a Happy French Connection Day!

FC
The French Connection statue in Alumni Plaza. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)



By Mike Harrington

So with today being July 11, 2014 -- 7/11/14 -- there's no better time to remember The French Connection, the greatest line in Sabres history and one of the best the NHL has ever seen.

Click below to read about the careers of each and click here to read my story from 2012 on the unveiling of the French Connection statue in Alumni Plaza at First Niagara Center.

No. 7 -- Rick Martin

No. 11 -- Gilbert Perreault ... Perreault statistics from the Hall of Fame site

No. 14 -- Rene Robert

Sometimes it's just plain better to zip it and tell you to watch the videos. I found a couple of wild vintage ones on YouTube, plus the emotional greeting the line gave Terry Pegula on the night in 2011 he took over the team. It was the last public appearance for Martin, who died less than a month later. 

Thursday morning skate: Ott re-signs with St. Louis

By Keith McShea

* There has been speculation about the possible return of Steve Ott to the Buffalo Sabres via free agency, but that ended late this morning as Ott re-signed today with the St. Louis Blues.  

Ott was traded to St. Louis last season as part of the Ryan Miller deal.

Ott's signed a two-year, $5.2 million extension with St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Release from the Blues | St. Louis Dispatch report 

* Buffalo yesterday acquired winger Jordan Samuels-Thomas from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

He is expected to be part of next week's development camp. Speaking of ...

* The Sabres' roster for next week's development camp -- which begins Monday and runs through next Friday at First Niagara Center -- is expected to be released soon. 

Registration for Street HockeyFest 2014 open

By Amy Moritz

Registration is now open for the 13th annual Street HockeyFest scheduled to be held Aug. 24. The event is sponsored by the Buffalo Sabres.

Games begin at 9 a.m. with each team guaranteed at least three games in the one-day tournament. With construction around First Niagara Center, the games will be played one block east of the arena, on surface parking lots between Mississippi and Columbia Streets.

The tournament is open to boys and girls 17. Registration per five-player team is $125 per team and includes a t-shirt and hat. Free parking will be available for participants and spectators at the First Niagara Center ramp.

Games are played three-on-three plus a goaltender with one optional substitute. Players must bring their own equipment (sneakers, sticks, gloves) and goaltender equipment is mandatory.

Registration will close at 5 p.m., Aug. 15 or when the tournament reaches capacity. If not enough teams register in a division that section may be canceled. To register and download waiver forms, visit www.sabres.com or call the Street HockeyFest hotline at (716) 855-4144.

Teams will be divided into divisions determined by gender and age/birth year as outlined by 2014-15 USA Hockey age classifications. Microns and Mites are required to wear a helmet and must also be under adult supervision at all times. Divisions are as follows:

Boys: Microns 6-and-under (2008 and later); Mites 8-and-under (2006); Squirts 10-and-under (2004, 2005); Pee Wee 12-and-under (2002, 2003); Bantam 14-and-under (2000, 2001); Midget 16-and-under (1998); and Midget 17-and-under (1997).

Girls: 8-and-under (2006); 11-and-under (2003); 13-and-under (2001); 15-and-under (1999); 17-and-under (1997).

Kane and Toews get eight-year extensions in Chicago

by Amy Moritz

How does eight more years sound?

The Chicago Blackhawks announced contract extensions to both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews that will run through the 2022-23 season. The contracts are worth a reported $10.5 million per season.

A formal press conference will be next week.

Kane, the 25-year old Buffalo native, has scored big goals in big games for the Blackhawks, including the series-clinching goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final while winning the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) in 2013. He won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) in 2008 and has participated in the NHL All-Star Game in 2009, 2011, and 2012.

The 26-year old Toews has 440 points (195 goals, 245 assists) in 484 regular season games after making his debut during the 2007-08 season. He became the second-youngest player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy  when he led Chicago to its first Stanley Cup title in 49 years back in 2010. In 2013, he won the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the league's best defensive forward.

AHL alignment for '14-15 conjures Atlantic Hockey mess

By Mike Harrington

Making a schedule and aligning a league has challenges but things are getting ridiculous the last couple of days. You wonder if the bright lights who run Atlantic Hockey and decided Canisius and Niagara would not meet downtown in HarborCenter's inaugural season are the same ones who announced the 2014-15 American Hockey League alignment today.

What gives with this? 

---Rochester and Syracuse aren't in the same conference, let alone the same division.

---Same for Albany and Adirondack (Glens Falls), which are about 30 minutes apart on I-87.

---Why in the world doesn't the AHL have an all-New York State division of Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Utica, Albany and Adirondack? How difficult would that be? Jeez. I realize Syracuse and Rochester have not been in the same division for several years, but that doesn't mean it's not goofy and shouldn't be addressed.  

Some of the shifting around is because of the Calgary franchise moving from Abbotsford, B.C., to Glens Falls, replacing the Flyers franchise that left Glens Falls for Allentown, Pa. The Rochester Amerks will stay in the North Division of the Western Conference with Adirondack (Calgary), Hamilton (Montreal), Toronto (Toronto) and Utica (Vancouver). Lake Erie (Colorado) moves out of the division into the Midwest.

So for the record, here are the AHL alignments:

Western Conference
North Division: Rochester Americans (Buffalo), Adirondack Flames (Calgary), Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal), Toronto Marlies (Toronto), Utica Comets (Vancouver) 
Midwest Division: Chicago Wolves (St. Louis), Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit), Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado), Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville), Rockford IceHogs (Chicago) 
West Division: Charlotte Checkers (Carolina), Iowa Wild (Minnesota), Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton), San Antonio Rampage (Florida), Texas Stars (Dallas) 

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division: Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles), Portland Pirates (Arizona), Providence Bruins (Boston), St. John’s IceCaps (Winnipeg), Worcester Sharks (San Jose) 
Northeast Division: Albany Devils (New Jersey), Bridgeport Sound Tigers (N.Y. Islanders), Hartford Wolf Pack (N.Y. Rangers), Springfield Falcons (Columbus), Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay).
East Division: Binghamton Senators (Ottawa), Hershey Bears (Washington), Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia), Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh).

The playoff system remains unchanged, with eight teams in each conference qualifying (three division winners and five wild-cards). Fair enough. But the AHL should be looking at a total realignment of its divisions. Sooner rather than later.

Central Scouting's Futures List is out and biggest names are (get used to them) McDavid, Eichel

By Mike Harrington 

NHL Central Scouting has released its Future List for prospects from North America and Europe and there are plenty of names on it that will become familiar as potential first-round choices in what's billed as a stocked 2015 draft. 

But for the next year, every draft list you see will be like this one: The names of Erie center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel will cause the most chatter and have fans of teams in the NHL's low-rent district like the Sabres dreaming big.

As NHL.com draft expert Mike Morreale writes, the league web site did an impromptu poll of nine talent evaluators and four of them said they would actually take Eichel with the No. 1 pick over McDavid. So it will be a fascinating year to watch the two of them play, starting with Eichel's likely appearance in the All-American Prospects Game Sept. 25 in First Niagara Center.

Here's a USA Today story on Eichel from April. 

And here's a reminder I'll probably give 200 times before the NHL Draft Lottery next April: If the Sabres do in fact finish last overall next year, they will likely have a 75-80 percent chance of NOT getting the No. 1 pick. Just like this year. So if it turns out McDavid becomes a consensus No. 1 choice during the season based on his play in the OHL and World Juniors, Eichel is the guy more likely to come to Buffalo.

Here's the complete North American futures list. After McDavid and Eichel, US National Development Team defenseman Noah Hanifan has gotten a lot of recent play as a high pick as well. The list also includes 2015-16 Niagara University commitment Dennis Gilbert of the Buffalo Junior Sabres, a draftee of the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. He's the nephew of Sabres Vice President of PR Mike Gilbert. 

The International futures list is topped by Czech center Pavel Zacha, who has said he wants to go the Tomas Hertl route right from Czech play into the NHL.

Bryan Murray diagnosed with cancer

by Amy Moritz

The Ottawa Senators released a statement today that general manager Bryan Murray was recently diagnosed with cancer and will undergo further testing and treatment.

The type of cancer was not disclosed.

"Mr. Murray’s treatment schedule may require him to be away from the Senators office periodically. During his periodic absence, assistant general managers Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee will be responsible for managing the Ottawa Senators hockey operations department," the team said in its statement.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray is the nephew of Bryan Murray and served as assistant GM in Ottawa from 2007 until taking the job with Buffalo in January.

In the wake of free agency week, a look at key dates on Sabres' 2014-15 schedule

By Mike Harrington

Now that the first week of NHL free agency is in the books, some dates on the Sabres' 2014-15 schedule have taken on added meaning based on new homes for some key players.

Here's a quick rundown of them:

Brian Gionta & Josh Gorges return to Montreal -- Nov. 29 and Feb. 3

Gorges deals with the wrath of spurned Toronto fans -- Oct. 28 and March 11 at Air Canada Centre, Nov. 15 and April 1 at FNC

Ryan Miller (Vancouver) -- Jan. 30 at Rogers Arena, Feb. 26 at FNC

Christian Erhhoff (Pittsburgh) -- Nov. 1 at Consol Energy Center, Nov. 8 and April 11 at FNC

Thomas Vanek (Minnesota) -- Nov. 13 at XCel Energy Center, Jan. 15 at FNC

John Scott (San Jose) -- Oct. 25 at SAP Center, Nov. 18 at FNC

Cory Conacher (New York Islanders) -- Dec. 27 and Feb. 8 at FNC, April 4 at Nassau Coliseum

Saturday at Target Field, Vanek threw a ceremonial first pitch prior to the Minnesota Twins game against the New York Yankees. You can see that video by clicking below.

Monday morning skate: Esmonde fires back at Toronto (with POLL), the faces of Tim Murray & Bucky on Darcy

By Keith McShea

For followers of the Sabres, the start of this week is a bit different than last week (the NHL Draft, Ehrhoff buyout & free agency starting), but there some interesting things going on:

Last week, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun was so offended by Josh Gorges choosing a trade to the Sabres over one to the Maple Leafs, that he expectorated this column

Over the holiday weekend, The News' Donn Esmonde fired back.

To further explore this immense happening, we have put together some unbiased, fair-minded poll questions: 

Also:

* Thanks to The News' team of photojournalists and some research by our web staff, we have assembled a PHOTO GALLERY of the many faces of Sabres GM Tim Murray. Using the word "many" may be a bit off there. 

* In his column today, BUCKY GLEASON offers his take on Darcy Regier getting hired as an assistant general manager by the Arizona Coyotes.

* * *

UPDATE: Sigh.

Coyotes hire former Sabres GM Darcy Regier as senior VP and assistant GM

By John Vogl

Darcy Regier's long-rumored reunion with old pal Don Maloney is official. The Arizona Coyotes have hired Regier as a senior vice president and assistant general manager.

Maloney, the Coyotes' GM who worked with Regier with the Islanders in the 1990s, told The News last week Regier was a candidate for a job in the organization. The Coyotes' previous assistant general manager, Brad Treliving, became Calgary's GM in April.

"When I found out Brad Treliving was leaving us in April, there was one guy on the list," Maloney told Coyotes.com. "At the top of the list was Darcy Regier."

Regier was the longest-tenured general manager in Sabres history, holding the title from June 1997 to November 2013. He was fired along with coach Ron Rolston after a 4-15-1 start that featured fans chanting for Regier to be dismissed.

"He had great moments there and like all of us had some down moments," Maloney said. "Thrilled to bring him on. I think he’s a great resource for the organization, for me. He’s intelligent, creative, experienced, knows the league, knows people in the league, knows players. I can’t imagine a better hiring for this organization than Darcy."

The Sabres went to four Eastern Conference finals and one Stanley Cup final with Regier as GM. However, they have missed the playoffs in eight of the last 12 seasons, including three in a row.

"If you think about Buffalo, obviously the last couple years haven’t gone the way they would have liked, but there was a long time where they were in the very same position," Maloney said. "They were in a bankruptcy situation. They came out of it. They had an ownership group that had to watch every penny that was spent, and yet he found a way to make it work.

"I had really dozens and dozens of candidates for this position. Bringing Darcy into this organization is a really good thing for us."

CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, featuring McDavid and 2015 draft picks, to be played in St. Catharines, Ont.

By John Vogl

Sabres fans interested in seeing the best players in the 2015 NHL Draft won't have to travel far.

The Niagara IceDogs, who play in St. Catharines, Ont., will host the next CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 22. The list of players is expected to include Connor McDavid, the favorite to be selected at the top of the next draft.

"This is an event that all NHL scouts look forward to attending," NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr said on NHL.com. "The game is a unique opportunity to evaluate 40 of the top draft-eligible prospects on a single stage in what has annually become an intense competition."

This year's Top Prospects Game featured 17 players taken during the first round of last month's NHL Draft, including No. 1 overall pick Aaron Ekblad and Buffalo's Sam Reinhart, who went second. The players for the 2015 game will be chosen in December.

Tickets will cost $35, with IceDogs season-ticket holders getting first priority. Individual tickets will be made available in September at www.NiagaraIceDogs.net.

Buffalo will host the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in September. It is expected to feature Jack Eichel, who is regarded as a draft rival to McDavid.

Sabres sign defenseman Tyson Strachan for Amerks, depth

By John Vogl

Tim Murray was looking for a couple of players for the Amerks, and he's found one in Tyson Strachan.

The 29-year-old defenseman spent last season in the Washington organization, dressing in 18 games with the Capitals and 60 games for their AHL affiliate in Hershey. Strachan's two-way deal, according to Ryan Rishaug of TSN, is for one year with an NHL salary of $650,000 and AHL pay of $275,000.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound defenseman has played 138 games for St. Louis, Florida and Washington. He has one goal, 15 points and 155 penalty minutes. Carolina drafted the Ohio State product in the fifth round of the 2003 draft.

Strachan provides experience for the Sabres' organization, which features young blue-liners Rasmus Ristolainen, Mark Pysyk, Chad Ruhwedel and Jake McCabe.

Strachan, according to CapGeek.com, had a two-way contract with Washington last season that paid $550,000 in the NHL and $225,000 in the minors.

The dog-loving defenseman is the founder of Strachan Strays, which promotes pet adoption.

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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