Player News - Sabres

Date: Team: Pos:

The Buffalo Sabres have fired head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Tim Murray.

"After reviewing the past season and looking at the future of our organization, Kim and I have decided to relieve General Manager Tim Murray and Head Coach Dan Bylsma of their duties," owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. "We want to thank Tim and Dan for their hard work and efforts that they have put in during their tenures with the club. We wish them luck. We have begun the process to fill these positions immediately." Bylsma coached the Sabres for the last two seasons. Buffalo missed the playoffs in both campaigns and the team's winning percentage slipped from 0.494 in 2015-16 to 0.476 in 2016-17. A report surfaced on Wednesday that star center Jack Eichel had "no desire" to sign an extension with the Sabres if Dan Bylsma was still the coach and a day later he was relieved of his duties. The timing does not look good, especially after the report was denied so vehemently by Eichel and his agent.
Apr 20 - 10:20 AM

Jack Eichel has been added to Team USA's roster for the 2017 World Championships.

It will give him an opportunity to enter the summer on a more positive note after a disappointing campaign for the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel personally had a strong sophomore campaign though with 24 goals and 57 points in 61 contests.
Apr 19 - 6:41 PM

Jack Eichel joined his agent in denying a recent report that he's refusing to sign an extension unless head coach Dan Bylsma is fired.

Eichel's agent called the story "ridiculous" while Eichel has now termed it as "inaccurate." He's in a tough situation because denying a report like this isn't going to convince everyone that it's not true, but what more can he do beyond denying it? The Sabres are also in a tough spot now because if they do decide to fire Bylsma then these reports will likely be brought up again. Even if Eichel signs an extension this summer and then Bylsma is fired during the regular season, there might be talk about a suspected rift between Bylsma and Eichel. Of course, if Buffalo manages to bounce back next season and in particular get off to a hot start, then a storyline like this will fade. That all being said, Eichel echoed his agent in saying that he felt his end-of-season meetings with Bylsma and GM Tim Murray went well.
Apr 19 - 5:33 PM

Jack Eichel's agent strongly denied a report that his client won't sign an extension unless head coach Dan Bylsma is fired.

"I don’t know where anyone is getting these reports, but they are ridiculous in a word," agent Peter Fish said. "Jack, he left Buffalo, he thought he had a real good meeting with coach Bylsma and a real good meeting with General Manager Tim Murray. When he got home to Boston, he was genuinely excited with the thoughts that maybe they’re just a few players away from getting into the playoffs." Fish confirmed that Eichel was very frustrated by the end of the season, but the agent said it had to do with the Sabres' disappointing campaign and not Bylsma. It's an awkward situation for the Sabres though. If they relieve Bylsma of his duties now, there will be people wondering if Eichel played a role in that, despite Fish's denials to the contrary.
Apr 19 - 12:29 PM

Hudson Fasching felt the 2016-17 season was a learning experience.

He missed more than two months with a groin tear and the issue lingered once he got back in the lineup. "Coming back from it was definitely the hardest part," Fasching said. "While you're injured, you do your rehab and you're kind of just bored for the most part. You can accept that. But when you come back and you're not like you were before, that's the hardest part is trying to push forward, trying to get back to where you were." He appeared in 10 games with Buffalo and had 12 points in 37 outings with Rochester of the AHL. Fasching intends to focus on lower-body training during the off-season and he hopes to secure his spot in the NHL in 2017-18.
Apr 19 - 10:04 AM

Cole Schneider is eligible for unrestricted free agency, but he would like to stay with the Sabres organization.

"I like it here," he said. "It's close to home. They're a great organization, take great care of us. I would like to come back." Schneider amassed 63 points in 71 games with Rochester, which placed him sixth overall in the AHL. He also had one assist in four outings with the Sabres.
Apr 18 - 10:24 AM

Brendan Guhle is penciled in for a roster spot with the Sabres next season.

The smooth-skating, puck-mover suited up in three games with Buffalo in December and he impressed the team's brass. "He played very well for us," GM Tim Murray said. "You can't get too excited because short term can fool you, but I don't think he's fooling anybody. He's a tremendous skater. He's got skill. He is what we need. We need our D to get up in the play and become that second wave of attack that we didn't have much of this year." Guhle accounted for 29 points in 32 contests with the WHL's Prince George Cougars after he was acquired from Prince Albert. He also had one goal and one assist in six outings with Rochester of the AHL.
Apr 18 - 10:18 AM

Sabres prospect Cal Petersen will play for the United States at the 2017 IIHF World Championships.

He posted a 23-12-5 record with a .926 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average for the University of Notre Dame in 2016-17. Buffalo wants Petersen to be the starter for Rochester in the AHL next season, but he isn't sure if he wants to turn pro yet.
Apr 17 - 10:17 AM

Evan Rodrigues will be a restricted free agent in the summer and feels he proved that he belongs at the NHL level.

"I had a good run here at the end of the year," said Rodrigues. "There's always areas of improvement that I'm going to work on, obviously, going into the summer, but I think mentally I'm in a good spot, believing in myself." He notched four goals and six points in 30 games with the Sabres.
Apr 17 - 10:10 AM

If UFA Brian Gionta does not return to Buffalo (which is likely), the Sabres are going to have to find a new captain.

The primary candidates would be Jack Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo. On the topic Gionta had this to say: "It just naturally happens, naturally occurs. There’s a lot of guys on this team that lead, so it’s hard to say who." Of course if Gionta returns, the point is moot.
Apr 16 - 9:19 AM

Marcus Foligno wants to keep playing with Jack Eichel next season.

"I hope I'm back there next year," Foligno said. "Obviously, you want to be with the best players on the team. We had some good games with Jack and Sam [Reinhart]." He potted a career-high 13 goals in 2016-17 and combined with Eichel on seven. Foligno finished the 2016-17 campaign with 23 points and 73 penalty minutes in 80 games.
Apr 14 - 9:10 AM

Jack Eichel can sign an extension with the Sabres on July 1 and that is high on GM Tim Murray's off-season to-do list.

"I asked him point blank: Do you like Buffalo? Do you like what's going on here?" Murray said. "He said he did. Very frustrated that we're not a playoff team, wants to be in the playoffs. I made a promise to him that I would do the best that I could to make the team around him better and that we will be a long-term playoff team." Eichel has one more season left on his entry-level contract.
Apr 13 - 8:55 AM

Buffalo coach Dan Bylsma didn't have an update on Kyle Okposo's condition when he talked to the media on Monday.

Okposo's last appearance of the season came on Mar. 27 because of an illness that sent him to the neuro intensive care unit at Buffalo General Medical Center. Bylsma couldn't even say if Okposo would be ready for the start of the 2017-18 campaign. Perhaps the team will have more to say on the matter soon.
Apr 11 - 10:18 AM

Coach Dan Bylsma could be on the hot seat next year.

After showing some progress in 2015-16, Buffalo slipped to last in the Atlantic, 15th in the East and 26th overall this campaign. "We can't expect to continue to do the same things, do it the same way and have a better result," Bylsma said. "It's got to change and that change comes with some uncomfortable times and some unhappy people at different times. That's something we're going to keep pushing on for our team. We have to know we have to change if we're going to develop into the team we think we can be." Sabres GM Tim Murray will speak to the media on Wednesday. His job may be in jeopardy as well.
Apr 11 - 10:09 AM

Jack Eichel narrowly missed out on a $2 million bonus because he finished outside the top 10 in points-per-game this season.

Eichel went into the final night of the season in the top 10 in that category, but thanks to Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl's two points in his team's finale, Eichel fell outside the top 10. In the end, Eichel posted 24 goals and 57 points in 61 games, which gave him 0.934 points-per-game. Draisaitl finished with 0.939 points-per-game and placed 10th in that category. Maybe Draisaitl can buy Eichel a nice dinner next time they bump into each other.
Apr 10 - 9:48 PM


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