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Robin Lehner and Linus Ullmark shared an objective. The goaltenders wanted to skate to the crease and prove they could stay there all year. Based on the results, they figure to share something else next season: the net in Buffalo. Though contracts need to be worked out and an expansion draft looms, the Sabres seem set in goal when they return to the ice. Lehner and U…

Gabriel Vilardi Position: Center Junior team: Windsor (OHL) 2016-17 stats: 49 games, 29 goals, 32 assists, 61 points Size: 6-foot-3, 201 pounds Born: Kingston, Ont. Central Scouting rank: No. 4 (North America) What to know: Vilardi grew up watching and admiring former Sabres captain Daniel Briere. They’re very different, however. While Briere was a d…

A first-timer vs. a long-timer. The game's best defense corps against legendary forwards. A veteran goalie getting a long-awaited first chance against a kid trying to go 2 for 2. Smashville vs. the Steel City. There are no shortage of storylines for a highly intriguing Stanley Cup final that opens Monday night in Pittsburgh as the Penguins host the Nashville Predators. …

Jason Botterill will be conducting two coaching searches instead of one after firing Rochester coach Dan Lambert on Friday. The Sabres' new general manager met with Lambert this week to discuss the organization's failed season. As in Buffalo, there will be a fresh start with the Amerks. “I would like to thank Dan for his hard work and contributions to our organizat…

The long-awaited deal is complete. Now Victor Antipin can compete for playing time in Buffalo. Rumored for months, the Sabres and the Russian defenseman agreed to a one-year, $925,000 contract Thursday. The length and terms of the entry-level deal were limited by the collective bargaining agreement. “Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situati…

Steve Ott’s playing days are done, but his career in hockey will continue. St. Louis has hired Ott as an assistant coach, the Blues announced Thursday. Ott has signed a three-year deal to work under coach Mike Yeo. Ott, a former Sabres captain, played in Buffalo from 2012 to 2014. The 34-year-old split this season between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadien…

The Buffalo Sabres have a new affiliate. It’s the renewal of a long-defunct partnership. The Sabres announced Thursday they have reached an agreement with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. The developmental league is a notch below the American Hockey League. “We’re excited to be able to partner with the Cyclones and fill an important part of our minor-league…

Matthew Strome Position: Left wing Junior team: Hamilton (OHL) 2016-17 stats: 66 games, 34 goals, 28 assists, 62 points Size: 6-foot-4, 206 pounds Born: Mississauga, Ont. Central Scouting rank: No. 33 (North America) What to know: The last name jumps off the page for hockey fans. The Strome family is well-regarded after Ryan Strome went fifth to the Is…

The Buffalo Sabres’ uniforms are reportedly getting tweaked again. The NHL is switching manufacturers, from Reebok to Adidas, and SportsLogos.net reported Thursday that the sweaters of 12 teams will be altered. The Sabres are on the list. [Gallery: Three decades of Sabres uniforms] The report did not detail the extent of the changes, saying it could be very mino…

It hasn’t taken long for Jason Botterill to learn there’s a captaincy debate in Buffalo. Jack Eichel? Ryan O’Reilly? “There’s probably not one completely right decision,” Buffalo’s general manager said this week on the Sabres’ simulcast show, “The Instigators.” Captain Brian Gionta is 38 years old and scheduled for unrestricted free agency, so it…

Cale Makar Position: Defense Junior team: Brooks (AJHL) 2016-17 stats: 54 games, 24 goals, 51 assists, 75 points Size: 5-foot-11, 180 pounds Born: Calgary, Alberta Central Scouting rank: No. 9 (North America) What to know: As the Sabres learned the hard way, skilled forwards need defensemen who can get the puck out of their zone and make plays. Makar m…

Buffalo and Nashville have a few things in common. Pete Weber has called games in both places. They were the only cities with only NHL and NFL teams among the four major sports -- until Las Vegas got its two franchises. Oh, and neither has won the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup. We've had a lot more chances, of course. The Bills have gone 51 years without a title in the …

The Sabres held their organizational scouting meetings last week. There definitely were awkward moments. New General Manager Jason Botterill didn’t know everyone. Five members of the scouting department have been let go, so others were wondering if they were next. “There’s nervous people from both ends – myself trying to get to know them, scouts trying to fig…

Here's something to ponder while trying to figure out how many players and how many years away the Sabres remain from becoming a championship contender: You know how many times at least one team in the Stanley Cup Final failed to earn at least 100 points during an 82-game regular season? Zero. Over the past 18 seasons, only three Stanley Cup champions failed to ear…

The Sabres held their organizational scouting meetings last week. There definitely were awkward moments. New General Manager Jason Botterill didn’t know everyone. Five members of the scouting department have been let go, so others were wondering if they were next. “There’s nervous people from both ends – myself trying to get to know them, scouts trying to fig…