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Sabres' Murray talking with agents about free agency, including reps for Ott, Moulson (with POLL)

By John Vogl

PHILADELPHIA -- While the NHL Draft is at the forefront, this year's selection show coincides with the free agency discussion period. General managers and agents can discuss the broad parameters of contracts for this year's crop of unrestricted free agents. It allows both sides to get a jump on the July 1 signing frenzy.

While Buffalo isn't expected to make a splash in free agency, GM Tim Murray has been taking advantage of the discussion time.

"I had meetings with agents noon till 7 yesterday, so I think I’m doing what everyone else is doing," Murray said today. "It’s no different. It’s just talking in generalities, ‘Would you have interest in our client?’ We’ll find out on July 1."

Continue reading "Sabres' Murray talking with agents about free agency, including reps for Ott, Moulson (with POLL)" »

Source: Sabres send Moulson, McCormick to Wild for picks, Mitchell

By John Vogl

For the second straight year, Buffalo and Minnesota have completed a big deal at the trade deadline.

The Sabres have sent Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the Wild for undisclosed draft picks and Torrey Mitchell, according to a source. Moulson, a pending unrestricted free agent, was the Sabres' top name available.

According to a league source, the Sabres have one more trade awaiting NHL approval.

Minnesota acquired Jason Pominville from the Sabres last year. The Wild is also the front-runner to sign former Buffalo winger Thomas Vanek this offseason.

Acquired from the Islanders as part of the deal that sent Vanek to New York, Moulson had 11 goals and 29 points in 44 games with the Sabres. Moulson, who has scored at least 30 goals three times, also had six goals and nine points in 11 games with New York this year.

Mitchell, a 29-year-old forward, has played 383 games and has 35 goals and 90 points. He has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $1.9 million and a salary of $2.5 million.

More to come.

Moulson as deadline looms: 'It's been a little mentally stressful the last week'

By Mike Harrington

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Sabres have decided to take today off after arriving from Dallas in the 3 a.m. range and Ted Nolan is scheduled to meet the media here in the noon hour, so stay tuned for an update from him.

I just spoke to Matt Moulson, who is likely the top target on the Sabres' roster that other teams have. He knows things are in the homestretch now when it comes to Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.

"It's obviously been a pretty eventful week with everything that's gone on," Moulson said. "It's tough not to think about it and think about what might happen. In the back of my mind is my family and making sure that if something happens, we get them there as soon as possible. Those are things you think of. 

"The games are over until the deadline and it's been a little mentally stressful the last week for sure. So it will be good to have a bit of a breather today."

Moulson reiterated that the team has had no discussions with him about a contract extension,  although he would have been open to them. So he's certainly getting dealt.

"I've enjoyed my time in Buffalo and I've been treated great by everyone," he said. "They have directions they want to take the team in. They have to make business moves and I understand that and we'll see where it goes."

The Los Angeles Kings are considered a prime destination for Moulson but several other teams are known to have inquired. The Pittsburgh Penguins seem to be a growing choice as well.

Moulson has 17 goals and 21 assists this season in 55 games between the Islanders and Buffalo. He caused a stir Monday in Dallas by not taking the morning skate but he played in the game and assisted on the Sabres' two goals by Tyler Ennis.

"Before I got injured (Feb. 3 at Colorado) and when I came back after the Olympics, our line is probably playing near the best we've played all year," Moulson said. "Staff [Drew Stafford] is playing great and Enzo is playing great too. It's kind of fitting we're playing some of our best hockey and it's right before the trade deadline."

Nolan says no deadline on Sabres' contract offer, keeping focus on ice

By John Vogl

DALLAS -- Ted Nolan has twice waited years for a team to offer him a coaching contract. He has one on the table now, and this time he's waiting.

The Sabres' coach said today he has not talked with General Manager Tim Murray about his future. Murray said Sunday about Nolan, "If he wants to be here, I want him to be our coach."

"No, I haven’t thought about it," Nolan said in American Airlines Center, where the Sabres visit the Stars. "My main focus right now is the game tonight."

Is there a deadline on the offer?

"No deadline," Nolan said. "No nothing. My main focus as it’s always been since I’ve been here, and I said it earlier, not because I’m just saying it today, I’ve been really focused on doing what I’ve been asked to do when Pat LaFontaine first asked me to come here, so I’m going to do that."

Nolan said Sunday he is taking time to think about the offer because of the sudden resignation of LaFontaine.

Nolan left the Sabres in 1997 and didn't get another NHL job until 2006 with the Islanders. He lasted two years in New York and was gone until the Sabres brought him back in November. Buffalo was set to give him a multiyear extension last week.

"Yeah, it’s nice to be wanted, for sure," Nolan said.

Nolan conducted an almost-full morning skate, with one notable exception. Matt Moulson, who is expected to be traded before Wednesday's deadline, was the only player to skip the workout.

"The vast majority of the time we have optional skates in pregame skates," Nolan said. "It’s their option. Matty felt better if didn’t go out there today."

Moulson is scheduled to play tonight alongside Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford. Jhonas Enroth will start in goal, while trade-target Jaroslav Halak will be the back up.

Ted Nolan

Sabres and Nolan back to work; Moulson, Myers healthy again

By John Vogl

The Olympic break is over for most of the Buffalo Sabres, including coach Ted Nolan. The team practiced today in First Niagara Center, its first time on the ice since Feb. 6.

Nolan led the team despite coaching Latvia in Russia on Wednesday.

"We’ll rest in the summertime," he said.

Rookie Zemgus Girgensons, who played for Latvia, was in the arena but will get a few days to recuperate.

"He deserves a couple days’ rest," Nolan said. "No bang-up, just probably fatigue and time-zone difference. ... He’s a young kid, so we’ll probably give him two, three days off."

The Olympic break gave the Sabres time to get healthy. Matt Moulson, Tyler Myers and Cody McCormick should all be ready to play Tuesday when the Hurricanes come to Buffalo. The return of Moulson is particularly good news because the pending unrestricted free agent is one of Buffalo's top assets heading toward the March 5 trade deadline.

"I was able to just work out and do treatment every day, get back healthy," said Moulson, who suffered his injury Jan. 30 in Phoenix. "It was just kind of like a cartilage thing, probably the same as a broken rib, and it just takes time and rest. Luckily, it came right before the break so I didn’t miss too many games."

Sabres goaltenders Ryan Miller (United States) and Jhonas Enroth (Sweden) are still at the Olympics, so Canisius College sophomore Adam Harris and former Morrisville netminder Chris Azzano manned the creases. Nolan said Miller or Enroth will start against the Hurricanes even though they both could be in Russia through Sunday's gold-medal game.

"One of them is going to have to play for sure," Nolan said. "We’ll see which one had the best sleep on the plane coming home. Whichever one, he’ll play."

To hear Nolan's chat, including his thoughts on Sochi and whether the NHL should participate in the Olympics, click the audio file below.

Moulson's agent: No contract talks with Sabres, not concerned about injury affecting trade status

By John Vogl

DENVER -- Matt Moulson's agent doesn't think the forward's injury will have much affect on his trade value. Wade Arnott also says he and the Sabres have not had any conversations about a contract extension for the left winger.

Moulson is likely out through the Olympic break with an upper-body injury, and the ailment comes just as the NHL is ramping up to next Friday's trade freeze for the Sochi Games. Moulson, a pending unrestricted free agent, is on the trade market.

"It’s something that we can’t control anyway, so to that end we’re not overly concerned about it," Arnott told The News by phone. "Obviously, we’re fully aware that we have a standard trade deadline on March 5, but we also have a trade freeze for the upcoming Olympic break before that. I am aware that managers have been talking and are maybe trying to do something prior to this freeze, but in Matt’s case I’m not sure anything was or would get done anyway."

Sabres coach Ted Nolan categorized the injury as not "too, too serious," and Arnott echoed the cautiously optimistic outlook.

"It doesn’t seem be long term or as serious as maybe we first thought, but he’ll know more I guess when he gets back to Buffalo," Arnott said. "But so far the diagnosis is not long term, anyway."

While Moulson has enjoyed his time in Buffalo since an October trade, Arnott has not talked with new Buffalo General Manager Tim Murray about an extension.

"We haven’t," Arnott said. "I suspect that maybe along the way we will, but to date we really haven’t had any substantial talks regarding Matt.

"He’s enjoyed his experience in Buffalo date. There’s no question. We talk about that. His family’s enjoyed sort of re-establishing themselves there. He’s enjoyed playing for the team. He knows that they’re in a little bit of a rebuild time period, but he’s excited about the future, the new management, the new ownership. He says a lot of positive things about his short time in Buffalo."

Sabres' Moulson likely out until after Olympic break, which impacts trade status

By John Vogl

DENVER -- Matt Moulson, one of the Sabres' top scorers and trade subjects, is likely out until after the Olympic break with an upper-body injury.

"He took a pretty good bang last night, so it looks possibly that he’ll be out till after the Olympic break," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said this afternoon. "I think we only have four or five games left, so it could be in the last part of it, but more than likely after the Olympic break."

Moulson was injured with six minutes left in the Sabres' 3-2 win over Phoenix and was still in pain well after the game ended.

"I was just hoping he got the puck in, then all of a sudden, I watched it afterwards, a little whack on the stick and a hit into the boards," Nolan said in the team hotel. "It was just one of those freaky things that happened.

"It’s definitely an upper-body injury that’s going to keep him out. He was pretty sore after the game last night, but it doesn’t look like it’s really too, too serious. If he’s a fast mender, you never know."

Moulson had an assist Thursday to boost his season totals to 15 goals and 33 points in 51 games.

The pending unrestricted free agent is one of the Sabres' biggest trade assets. There are two roster freezes coming, including next Friday for the Olympic break. It's unlikely someone will trade for him before then without knowing a concrete timetable for recovery.

The Sabres have four games between the end of the Olympic break and the March 5 trade deadline, which should allow suitors to gauge Moulson's status for a trade.

Nolan also said Drew Stafford will not be ready to play Saturday when the Sabres visit the Colorado Avalanche. Brian Flynn is expected to take Moulson's spot on the top line.

Ted Nolan

Sabres' Moulson: 'It’s the most embarrassed I’ve been in my career'

BOS – Matt Moulson stood facing his locker stall, his back to the rest of the dressing room following the Sabres’ debacle in Anaheim. Moulson slowly took off his equipment, hesitant to turn around and look at anyone.

The Buffalo newcomer had just been benched for the final 26:11 and seemingly didn’t know how to act.

“It’s the most embarrassed I’ve been in my career,” Moulson told The Buffalo News.

The 30-year-old has had a distinguished career. He’s topped 30 goals three times and is on pace to do it again. He’s played 339 games after spending three seasons in the minors and working his way into the league.

And yet there he was sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with center Cody Hodgson and right wing Tyler Ennis for the entire third period, watching his new teammates finish a 6-2 loss. Did he know why?

“No, you have to ask him,” Moulson said of Ron Rolston.

“We’ve got to work, and we didn’t feel that the work was there,” the coach said of the top line.

While they’d generated just one shot, they weren’t on the ice for any of the Ducks’ goals. They’ve accounted for nine of the Sabres’ paltry 31 goals this season, but they apparently weren’t needed with the team down by four.

“Obviously, it’s tough,” said Hodgson. “You want to help the team win, but the other lines were working hard and getting on the forecheck and that kind of thing. I always wish them the best.”

Moulson, a pending unrestricted free agent acquired last month, is getting a harsh introduction to the Sabres’ rebuilding scheme.

“It seems like they just have lapses for a little bit, get down a little bit and then it’s tough to get back in this league when you do that,” he said. “We have to move on and be better.”

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 |

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 |

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 |