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Your guide to tonight's NHL Draft

The NHL Draft begins tonight at 7 p.m. with the first round in Philadelphia. The Sabres have one selection tonight, the No. 2 overall pick.

Rounds Two through Seven are Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

The News' John Vogl & Mike Harrington will have all of the details tonight from the City of Brotherly Love, and they've got all you need to know heading into a huge weekend for the Sabres and the rest of the league: 

Make your own tour through Sabres draft history in our searchable database of the team's all-time draft selections.

From more of a big-picture look at the Sabres: 

Updated info from TODAY: 

Changes to NHL Draft Lottery could diminish Sabres' chances of getting Connor McDavid

By John Vogl

PHILADELPHIA – The dream of seeing uber-prospect Connor McDavid in a Buffalo uniform was going to carry Sabres fans through another loss-filled season. The odds of the dream becoming reality are likely to change.

The NHL is ready to implement a pair of changes to its Draft Lottery. The first, which would go into effect for the McDavid draft of 2015, would give all 14 non-playoff teams a more even chance of winning the No. 1 pick. The second, which would be put into service in 2016, would increase the number of selections determined by the lottery system.

The NHL board of governors approved the changes Thursday, but the league's player association will have a chance to weigh in. The NHLPA board gathers July 14-18, and approval or rejection is expected before the end of the meeting.

Source: NHL plans to make two changes to draft lottery, including increasing number of picks determined by lottery process

By John Vogl

PHILADELPHIA -- The NHL is ready to implement a pair of changes to its Draft Lottery, which obviously has a big impact on the future of the Sabres.

The league, according to a Buffalo News source with knowledge of the situation, would like to:

Best Sabres draft picks: Check out Harrington's top 12

Who is the best Sabres draft pick ever? 

Where does Ryan Miller stack up? What about the 1988 fifth-round two-fer of Alexander Mogilny and Rob Ray?

Check out Mike Harrington's breakdown of top 12 selections ever -- he went with a particular year's selections in some cases -- along with photos from The Buffalo News archives. Also check out the best low-round talent the Sabres have been able to pluck through the years. 

Stay with Sabres Edge and all weekend as Harrington and John Vogl report from this year's draft in Philadelphia. The first round is Friday night. 

Report: Kane, Toews ask Blackhawks for $12 million per season

By John Vogl

PHILADELPHIA -- Patrick Kane is already regarded as one of hockey's elite players. He could be on the verge of being one of the richest, too.

Kane and Chicago teammate Jonathan Toews, who become free agents after the 2014-15 season, have started renegotiation talks with the Blackhawks. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, they've kicked off the bargaining at $12 million per season.

The top yearly contracts in the NHL belong to Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who makes just more than $9.5 million per season, and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, who averages $9.5 million.

Kane and Toews are both finishing five-year, $31.5 million deals.

Former NHL goalie Arturs Irbe remains front-runner to join Sabres' coaching staff

By John Vogl

PHILADELPHIA -- Arturs Irbe remains the front-runner to become the Sabres' next goaltending coach, a source with ties to the goalie guild tells The News.

Irbe has been mentioned as a potential Sabres assistant ever since it became clear Ted Nolan would clean house and hire his own people. That hasn't changed, and it's being assumed in hockey circles that Irbe is a given for the job.

Irbe was one of Nolan's assistants on the Latvian Olympic team. The former NHL goalie, who played for San Jose, Dallas, Vancouver and Carolina, was Washington's goalie coach from 2009 to 2011 but went back to his homeland after failing to get a promotion to regular assistant coach.

There is no timetable for Nolan to announce his coaching staff. He released assistants Joe Sacco, Teppo Numminen and Jerry Forton, plus goalie coach Jim Corsi, at the end of the season. Nolan inherited the staff from previous coach Ron Rolston.

Irbe played 568 games from 1991 to 2004.

Road to the NHL Draft Recap: 30-plus prospects in 30 days

By John Vogl

PHILADELPHIA -- The Road to the NHL Draft has reached its end.

Our monthlong series of profiles on hockey's hottest prospects comes to a conclusion today, just as we arrive in Philly for the draft Friday and Saturday.

To learn more about the players who will be selected, including statistics, scouting reports and video highlights, click on the names below.

Road to the NHL Draft: Michael Dal Colle

By John Vogl

Michael Dal Colle

Position: Left wing

Junior team: Oshawa (OHL)

Born: Richmond Hill, Ont.

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 182 pounds

2013-14 stats: 67 games, 39 goals, 56 assists, 95 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 5 (North America)

Lowdown: Consistency is one of the hardest things for young players to achieve. Two good games will often be followed by a subpar outing, simply because prospects start to feel their talent alone will carry them. Dal Colle, however, is consistent as they come. His effort and results rarely waver.

Part of it is because Dal Colle has learned to never take things for granted. His older brother, Jonluca, is autistic, while their mother, Wendy, overcame breast cancer. The player couldn’t possibly sit back after seeing his family fight so hard. His sister, Daniela, played three seasons at Niagara University.

Dal Colle has the makings of a complete power forward. His scoring touch and passing are impressive. He knows how to protect the puck. He can perform when it matters, evidenced by his eight goals and 20 points in 12 playoff games. He still has to add weight to his frame.

He said it: "My first year in Oshawa, I played with a lot of good players, good leaders. I think as a 16-year-old I learned a lot from them and carried it on to this year. I know my defensive side of the game on the ice has to get better if I want to play in the NHL and have a long career, which I want to do. I’ve got to get physically stronger." – Dal Colle.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.

As draft looms, free-agent frenzy begins and Pens get a coach

By Mike Harrington

En route to the draft in Philadelphia, a lot of NHL news breaking overnight and this morning. First off, remember that under the new CBA teams were free to have conversation with unrestricted free agents as of midnight -- although they are not allowed to discuss actual contract terms (wink-wink).

You can, of course, sign UFAs that previously played for you or that you acquired the rights to, and two big signings have gone down. Tampa Bay has re-signed Ryan Callahan for six years and $34.8 million and Edmonton officially started the stupid season by signing defenseman Nikita Nikitin for two years and $9 million after acquiring his rights in a trade from Columbus.

So if Nikitin gets $4.5 million a season, what does that make the market for Pittsburgh UFA Matt Niskanen or Montreal RFA P.K. Subban? The defense market might go off the charts quickly.

As for Callahan, that will officially quiet chatter from Sabres fans who wanted their team to make a big play for the Rochester native. My take is simple: Big-ticket, big-money UFAs want to win Stanley Cups in the prime of their careers and not go to 30th-place teams. As John Vogl wrote Sunday in his GM for a Day column, "the 29-year-old from Rochester plays a game that’s hard on the body. I think he’ll be done by the time the Sabres hope to contend. "

(Now we just need Chicago to extend Patrick Kane on July 1 and all that crazy chatter about the Sabres honing in next summer can end there as well).

The Lightning helped their cap situation for Callahan by using a compliance buyout on forward Ryan Malone. He had one year left at $2.5 million.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins have signed Portland coach Mike Johnston to a three-year deal as their head coach. Pretty interesting move to hire a junior coach -- albeit one who is widely respected and has experience as an NHL aide -- to run a team with perennial Cup aspirations. Johnston is a Nova Scotia native, just like Sidney Crosby. Hmmm.

Road to the NHL Draft: Ivan Barbashev

By John Vogl

Ivan Barbashev

Position: Left wing

Junior team: Moncton (QMJHL)

Born: Moscow

Measurables: 6-foot, 181 pounds

2013-14 stats: 48 games, 25 goals, 43 assists, 68 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 18 (North America)

Lowdown: Barbashev came over from Russia because he likes to battle on the ice. His biggest one came quickly. The coaches shifted him from freewheeling winger to center, where he needed to develop a two-way game. He embraced the challenge and has become solid at both ends of the ice.

While the defense has improved, Barbashev hasn’t lost his offensive skills. He’s a dynamic skater with impressive acceleration. He has the shots to find the net and the creativity to get in position to fire them.

Consistency can be an issue. His effort level isn’t always at its peak.

They said it: “Ivan is a strong skater. He reaches top speed quickly and is a very good playmaker with quick hands. He's not afraid to mix it up, competes one-on-one and battles for pucks. He can be a gamebreaker." – Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.

Goalie coach Mitch Korn fondly recalls Hasek's time in Buffalo, even the rocky start

By John Vogl

The way Mitch Korn remembers it, Dominik Hasek's career in Buffalo was nearly over before it started.

The Sabres acquired Hasek from Chicago prior to the 1992-93 season, and they traded for Grant Fuhr during the campaign. After the season, the NHL held an expansion draft for newcomers Florida and Anaheim. Teams could protect only one goalie, and the Sabres chose to freeze Fuhr.

Neither the Panthers nor Mighty Ducks selected Hasek, who quickly unseated Fuhr and capped his career today by being voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"The first year was kind of rocky," Korn, who was the Sabres' goaltending coach during the 1990s, told The News by phone this evening. "When he came to us he had great instincts. We’ve all heard the Gumby comparisons, the Slinky comparisons, all those kinds of things. He had really good physical skills, very athletic, tremendously quick, but he didn’t have enough order."

Korn's first priority when working with Hasek was to slow the goaltender down.

"Because Dom processed so well, he knew what was going to happen next, but sometimes he wasn’t patient enough, and then he would, for no better terms, show his cards," Korn said. "The shooter might have been doing what he was going to do, then he changes because Dom showed his cards. One of the first projects I had was to help develop some patience to not show his cards.

"He’s so smart, so cerebral, such a bright person hockey-wise and outside of hockey. The things that just had to be done was order and patience. He had everything else."

Korn talked up Hasek to skeptical Sabres management.

"I said, 'Dom can play. You just have to have a strong stomach when you’re watching him.'"

While it might seem difficult to coach a goalie as unorthodox as Hasek -- who was known for diving, rolling and wandering to the blue line -- Korn said it was easy.

"Dom was really very easy to coach," he said. "If somebody’s very good at something, even if it’s not mainstream, you don’t coach it out of them."

Korn was one of two members of the Sabres organization publicly thanked by Hasek today (John Muckler was the other), and the Washington goalie coach took pride in that upon learning the news.

"Playing goal is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle," Korn said. "I’ve coached a lot of guys, and there are very few who have all 1,000 pieces on the table. My job was to help him to put those pieces together."

Hasek gets call to Hockey Hall of Fame in first year of eligibility

By John Vogl

Fans in Buffalo knew they were watching someone special whenever Dominik Hasek skated to the crease. They know now they were watching a Hockey Hall of Famer.

The Hall selected "The Dominator" for induction today in his first year of eligibility. There was little doubt the call would come.

"After I retired I really began to appreciate what the game did for me," Hasek said in a release issued by the Hall of Fame. "My goal was just to make the NHL, and achieving this recognition is far beyond what I could have imagined."

Hasek compiled some of the greatest goaltending statistics of all time, primarily while playing in Buffalo from 1992 to 2001. His stay included two Hart Trophies as NHL Most Valuable Player and six Vezina Trophies as top goaltender. Hasek was a six-time First Team All-Star and won a gold medal with the Czech Republic in the 1998 Olympic Games.

The Sabres inducted Hasek into their team Hall of Fame this year and will retire his No. 39 to the rafters next season.

Hasek held every major Sabres goaltending record when he forced a trade to Detroit in 2001, including 491 games and 234 victories. Ryan Miller has since eclipsed those marks, but Hasek is the runaway leader in shutouts with 55.

Hasek had a save percentage of .930 or better in five of his nine seasons with Buffalo, including a .937 in 1998-99 as he led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup final before losing to Dallas. He won two Cups with Detroit before retiring from the NHL in 2008 and the Kontinental Hockey League in 2011.

Chicago drafted Hasek in the 10th round of the 1989 Draft, and he came to Buffalo in August 1992 in one of the most lopsided trades in team history. The Sabres sent Stephane Beauregard and a fourth-round pick to the Blackhawks in exhange for the goalie who had a "Slinky for a spine."

Hasek will join former Sabres players Dick Duff, Grant Fuhr, Clark Gillies, Doug Gilmour, Dale Hawerchuk, Tim Horton, Pat LaFontaine and Gilbert Perreault in the Hall on Nov. 17 at the induction ceremony in Toronto.

Rob Blake, Mike Modano and Peter Forsberg joined Hasek on today's player induction list. Late coach Pat Burns was named as a builder, and Bill McCreary was elected as a referee.

Road to the NHL Draft: Adrian Kempe

By John Vogl

Adrian Kempe

Position: Right wing

European team: Modo (Sweden)

Born: Kramfors, Sweden

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 178 pounds

2013-14 stats: 45 games, five goals, six assists, 11 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 6 (Europe)

Lowdown: One of the most simplistic commands a coach can make is “get to the net.” That maneuver is also one of the more difficult to do judging by the coaches’ overuse of the phrase. It’s something Kempe doesn’t need to hear, though.

Kempe has a bull mentality on the ice, one that leads him toward the net on a consistent basis. He plays the north-south game that coaches desire noawadays, a no-frills attack that puts defensemen and goaltenders back on their skates. He already has an all-around game and can play well in his own zone.

While Kempe knows where the net is, he hasn’t proved he can find it with the puck. Still, his shot and playmaking skills show potential.

They said it: "He plays the body and is aggressive when forechecking. He has a good defensive game for a player with his offensive skills. He's a power forward, strong along the boards with smooth hands and is a very speedy skater. He's a solid two-way forward." – Goran Stubb, European director of NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.

2014-15 schedule will have busy start for Sabres

By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Sabres will have a busy start to the 2014-15 season, according to the National Hockey League schedule released this afternoon.

As revealed by the league on Saturday, the Sabres open the season at home against Columbus on Thursday, Oct. 9. Their next game is Oct. 11 in Chicago, which will be the Blackhawks' home opener in United Center.

The Sabres then have 11 games over a 22-day stretch in October, and a four-game road trip from Oct. 22-28 that takes them to Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose before finishing in Toronto.

The busiest month of the season then follows, as Buffalo has 14 games in November -- including four back-to-back sets. 

From the start of the season through Nov. 5, 11 of the Sabres' first 14 games are against teams who were in the playoffs last season.

There are 13 games apiece in December, February and March, 12 in January, 11 in October and six in April. The variable ticket pricing designations for individual games will be released at a later date.

The Sabres' longest homestand of the season is a five-gamer from Feb. 7-15. There are five-game road trips in both January and March.

The Sabres will have 25 of their 41 home games on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or holidays, up from 16 last season. Among other highlights:

---The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings make their visit to Buffalo on Dec. 9.

---South Buffalo native Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks come to town on April 3.

---The Toronto Maple Leafs come to Buffalo twice, on Nov. 15 and April 1.

---The season and home finale is April 11 against Pittsburgh.

---There will be a Columbus Day home matinee, Oct. 13 at 3 p.m. against Anaheim.

---The team will host Tampa Bay on New Year's Eve at 6 p.m.

The Sabres will play each Atlantic Division opponent at least four times each and the other teams within the Eastern conference three times each. They will play each team in the Western conference once at home and once on the road.

The Atlantic Division teams the Sabres will meet five times next season are Florida (three home) and Tampa Bay (three away).

The Sabres played five games last year against Boston and Toronto, with three visits made by the Bruins to Buffalo and three trips by the Sabres to Toronto's Air Canada Centre.

The full schedule:

Road to the NHL Draft: Nikolaj Ehlers

By John Vogl

Nikolaj Ehlers

Position: Left wing

Junior team: Halifax (QMJHL)

Born: Aalborg, Denmark

Measurables: 5-foot-10, 176 pounds

2013-14 stats: 63 games, 49 goals, 55 assists, 104 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 13 (North America)

Lowdown: It must be noted that Ehlers put up his gaudy numbers playing alongside Jonathan Drouin, selected third overall by Tampa Bay last year. Even with that taken into consideration, comparisons to Patrick Kane abound for the Danish import.

Ehlers is one of the most exciting offensive players in the draft. His quickness is off the charts, and he’s able to make plays while moving at top speed. He can go around defenders in an instant, but they can’t focus on the outside because Ehlers never hesitates to dangle through the middle of the ice. Once he gets open, his rapid-fire wrist shot is lethal.

Ehlers is a proven winner, leading Denmark to gold medals in Division 1A at the under-18s and world juniors. He added 11 goals and 28 points in 16 playoff games this year. While he could use some weight, his eagerness to go into tight areas offsets his small frame.

They said it: “He's proven to be a skilled forward who can work some magic with Jonathan Drouin. He's got that quickness where he can separate from a check and get to the net. He's got soft hands and passes with authority, is a clever playmaker and very unselfish.” – Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.

The News' 'GM for a Day' has a new look; here are links to previous editions

By John Vogl

The Buffalo News began its “GM for a Day” series in 2007 with the Sabres at a critical juncture. Buffalo just finished back-to-back runs to the Eastern Conference finals, but co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Brier were set to become free agents. Bucky Gleason was challenged to come up with a way to keep both. He found a hypothetical solution, unlike the Sabres.

Each spring thereafter, Gleason stepped into the GM chair for a day. At first it was because it was fun. Not long after, it was because it was clear that anyone other than Darcy Regier should be in the Sabres’ front office.

Owner Terry Pegula finally agreed, and for the first time since 1996 the Sabres will spend the summer without Regier as GM. Tim Murray is in charge, and the straight-shooting decision maker doesn’t appear to need help.

Nonetheless, he’ll get some assistance. Coincidentally, The News’ GM will change, too. Gleason has expanded from hockey columnist to general columnist, leaving “Inside the NHL” and “GM for a Day” to yours truly.

Here is the link to today's edition. The links to Gleason's stories from previous years are as follows:







Sabres home opener set for Oct. 9

by Amy Moritz

The Buffalo Sabres will open the 2014-15 season at First Niagara Center on Thursday, Oct. 9 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The NHL released the complete list of home openers this afternoon with the full schedule set to be released at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Sabres will be the opponent for the Blackhawks when they open in Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 11.

The season opens on Oct. 8 with a slate of four games. The Los Angeles Kings begin the defense of the Stanley Cup that night, hosting the San Jose Sharks.

Also playing on the league's opening night: Philadelphia at Boston, Montreal at Toronto and Vancouver at Calgary.

Also of note, the rebranded Arizona Coyotes will play their first game since changing their name from Phoenix, on Oct. 9 hosting Winnipeg. The franchise name officially changes on Friday, June 27 at the NHL Draft.

Road to the NHL Draft: William Nylander

By John Vogl

William Nylander

Position: Right wing

European team: Modo (Sweden)

Born: Calgary, Alberta

Measurables: 5-foot-9, 169 pounds

2013-14 stats: 57 games, 16 goals, 18 assists, 34 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 2 (European)

Lowdown: Nylander has bounced around North America and Europe, following his father, Michael, who played for seven NHL teams from 1992 to 2009 and still skates professionally in Sweden. Father and son played together this season, allowing Michael to provide hands-on training.

William Nylander stepped out of his dad’s shadow at the under-18 world championship. He was named best forward of the tournament, putting up six goals and 16 points in seven games for Sweden. Since the start of the season, he has risen from the junior ranks through Sweden’s second division and finally to his homeland’s top league.

His skill level and imagination are NHL caliber, but his decision making could use work. While dynamic offensively, his defensive skills are lacking. He’s undersized for the league’s top level.

They said it: “He’s a good, mobile skater with outstanding skills, including smooth hands, vision, puck-handling and shot. He can also set up scoring chances for teammates and can score in many ways from outside or in traffic. He’s very competitive and effective on the power play.” – Goran Stubb, European director of NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.

Road to the NHL Draft: Sonny Milano

By John Vogl

Sonny Milano

Position: Left wing

Junior team: USA U-18 (USHL)

Born: Massapequa

Measurables: 6-foot, 183 pounds

2013-14 stats: 50 games, 24 goals, 48 assists, 72 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 16 (North America)

Lowdown: A lot of kids show their admiration of Patrick Kane in an obvious manner, donning No. 88 for their teams. Milano is a little slicker. He honors Kane by wearing No. 27, which the South Buffalo native wore during his time with the U.S. National Team Development Program.

Milano has the offensive tools to resemble Kane. He once skated behind the net during a game and flipped the puck over the cage and the goaltender, onto the waiting stick of a teammate. He can make plays at top speed, a skill that often eludes young prospects. He can play all three forward spots.

Milano isn’t the most physical player. His defensive responsibilities can use work. He’s set to play for Boston College this fall.

They said it: "He's so dynamic, very good with the puck in traffic and in open ice and can make defensemen look silly. He likes to get under your skin. He certainly has the potential of becoming a complete player." – David Gregory, NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.

Sabres' Nolan, Murray continuing search for assistant coaches; Sacco accepts reassignment as pro scout

By John Vogl

Sabres coach Ted Nolan has been a man without helpers since getting rid of the staff he inherited. He and General Manager Tim Murray are in the process of finding new assistant coaches.

"We compared names, guys that have called him, guys that have called me," Murray said today. "He’s talked to a lot of potential assistants in the last couple of weeks. He’ll talk to them. He’ll tell me what he thinks of them, then we have to come to a decision together on who the right guys are. It’s in the process."

One of the released assistants, Joe Sacco, has accepted his reassignment to pro scout with the Sabres.

"He’s been in the building the last, I would say, four days getting to understand our scouting program," Murray said. "He’s been on the computer, reading reports. I’ve given him our free agent list for July 1 even though he didn’t scout last year. I think as an assistant coach and a head coach the last few years, he has some insight on some players on that list. He’s excited and ready to go."

Murray said the Amerks coaching staff of Chadd Cassidy and assistants Chris Taylor and John Wroblewski will remain for next season.

Randy Cunneyworth, who was working as a development liaison between the Sabres and Amerks, has been "offered a job" and Murray is waiting for his answer.

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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 |

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 |