SABRES SIGN STEPHENS TO ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 26, 2017) — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed defenseman Devante Stephens to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Stephens (6’1”, 172 lbs., 1/2/1997) recently completed his third season with the Kelowna Rockets (WHL), where he established career highs in goals (13), assists (22) and points (35) during the 2016-17 season. His goal total paced all Rockets defensemen and ranked ninth in the WHL.

Buffalo’s fifth-round pick (122nd overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Stephens has recorded 57 points (19+38) and a plus-56 rating in 203 career WHL games. The Surrey, British Columbia native has added 11 assists and a plus-6 rating in 46 career WHL playoff games.

STATEMENT FROM SABRES OWNER TERRY PEGULA

BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 20, 2017) — Buffalo Sabres Owner Terry Pegula has issued the following statement:

“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. 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.”

SABRES ASSIGN THREE TO ROCHESTER

BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 10, 2017) — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has assigned forwards Alexander Nylander and Evan Rodrigues, and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

2016-17 Season Recap

Top Team Notes:

  • Buffalo’s power play finished the season at a league-best 24.5 percent success rate, marking the second time in franchise history that the Sabres have led the league in power-play percentage (1991-92 – 22.5%). It ranks as the third-best conversion rate in franchise history and the 15th-best by any team since the league began publishing the stat in 1987-88.
  • The Sabres got at least 10 wins from two different goaltenders (Lehner – 23, Nilsson – 10) for the first time since the 2006-07 season (Miller – 40, Biron – 12) and had two goaltenders with at least five games played log a save percentage of .920 or better for the first time in franchise history (Nilsson – .923, Lehner – .920).
  • Buffalo’s goaltenders combined to post a .921 save percentage this season, marking the fourth-best team rate in the league this season and the fifth-best in franchise history:

    Team

    Goaltenders

    SV%

    CBJ

    Bobrovsky, Korpisalo, McElhinney, Forsberg

    .925

    WSH

    Holtby, Grubauer

    .925

    MTL

    Price, Montoya, Lindgren

    .921

    BUF

    Lehner, Nilsson, Ullmark

    .921

    Season

    Goaltenders

    SV%

    1998-99

    Hasek, Roloson, Biron

    .930

    1997-98

    Hasek, Shields

    .928

    1996-97

    Hasek, Shields, Trefilov

    .926

    2009-10

    Miller, Lalime, Enroth

    .924

    2016-17

    Lehner, Nilsson, Ullmark

    .921

Top Player Notes:

Jack Eichel

  • At 20 years of age, Jack Eichel became just the fifth player in franchise history to lead the team (or tie for the team lead) in points before his 21st birthday:
    • 1970-71: Gilbert Perreault
    • 1971-72: Rick Martin
    • 1988-89: Pierre Turgeon
    • 1989-90: Pierre Turgeon
  • Jack Eichel’s .93 points per game this season ranked him 11th among NHL skaters with at least 20 games played and were the most by a Sabre under the age of 21 since Pierre Turgeon (1.33) in 1989-90.
  • From Feb. 14 to March 7, Jack Eichel recorded a career-best 11-game point streak (5+11) that tied as the fourth-longest streak in the NHL in 2016-17 and was the longest by a Sabre since Tim Connolly tallied points in 16 straight from Dec. 23, 2009 to Jan. 25, 2010.
    • The streak included a nine-game assist streak from Feb. 14 to March 4 that stands as the longest assist streak in the league this season.
  • The Sabres were 14-2-0 this season (22-5-1 in his career) when Jack Eichel recorded at least two points.

Brian Gionta

  • Brian Gionta appeared in his 1,000th NHL game on March 27 vs. Florida, becoming the 312th NHL player (23rd active player) to play in 1,000 games. He was also the 43rd American player to reach the milestone and the 10th player to do so as a member of the Sabres.
    • With his goal in the game, Gionta became the third Sabres player to score in his 1,000th NHL game, joining Gilbert Perreault (1/29/1984 vs. Pittsburgh) and Phil Russell (3/12/1986 at Chicago).

Evander Kane

  • With 25 even-strength goals in 70 games this season, Evander Kane finished the season ranked ninth in the league with .36 even-strength goals per game. It was the best rate by any Sabre since Jason Pominville scored 30 even-strength goals in 82 games (.37) in the 2006-07 season.

Matt Moulson

  • Matt Moulson finished the season tied for 11th in the league with 11 power-play goals. It was his highest total since the 2011-12 season and the most by a Sabre since Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford each recorded 11 in 2010-11.

Ryan O’Reilly

  • Ryan O’Reilly ranked fifth in the league and set a career high with a faceoff win percentage of 58.0 percent. It was the fourth-best season by a Sabres center since the league began publishing faceoff percentage in 1997-98:
    • Paul Gaustad – 59.8% (2010-11)
    • Chris Gratton – 58.9% (2002-03)
    • Chris Drury – 58.8% (2006-07)
    • Ryan O’Reilly – 58.0% (2016-17)
  • Ryan O’Reilly (21:27) led all NHL forwards in average ice time per game for the second consecutive season.

Rasmus Ristolainen

  • At 26:23, Rasmus Ristolainen averaged the most ice time by a Sabres skater in a full season with the team since Alexei Zhitnik (26:33) in 2002-03.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen’s 24 power-play assists tied for fourth-most in the league this season and tied for 21st-most in a season in franchise history.  It was the highest total by a Sabres defenseman since Garry Galley logged 28 on the 1995-96 season.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen recorded an assist on 20.2 percent of his teammates’ goals this season, joining Phil Housley (22.6% in 1989-90) as just the second Sabres defenseman ever to recorded an assist on more than 20 percent of his teammates’ goals in a season.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen’s 39 assists tied him for seventh among all NHL defensemen this season and were the 19th-most by a defenseman in franchise history. Only one other Sabres defenseman in the last 20 years has matched this mark (Brian Campbell, 42 assists in 2006-07).

 

Post-Season Press Conferences

General Manager Tim Murray

Head Coach Dan Bylsma

 

Locker Room Clean-Out Interviews
Brian Gionta

Rasmus Ristolainen

Robin Lehner

Ryan O’Reilly

Sam Reinhart

Jake McCabe

Evander Kane

Johan Larsson

Cody Franson

Tyler Ennis

Anders Nilsson

Marcus Foligno

Zemgus Girgensons

Zach Bogosian

Evan Rodrigues

Matt Moulson

William Carrier

Josh Gorges

Jack Eichel

 

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres ranked in the top 10)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 24.5% PP% (1st)
  • Eichel: 4.1 S/GP (1st)
  • Foligno: 279 hits (5th)
  • Kane: 3.7 S/GP (5th)
  • Nilsson: .933 EV SV% (6th), .923 SV% (10th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:27 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 58.0 FO% (5th)
  • Ristolainen: 24 PPA (T-4th), 26:28 TOI/GP (5th), 39 A (T-7th, defensemen)

 

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10:
4-4-2 (10), 23/24, 8/35, 26/31
11-20: 3-4-3 (9), 15/26, 6/31, 28/36
21-30: 5-3-2 (12), 31/26, 8/30, 13/24
31-40: 4-4-2 (10), 27/31, 7/34, 21/28
41-50: 4-5-1 (9), 28/33, 6/27, 21/28
51-60: 6-4-0 (12), 26/25, 6/25, 24/30
61-70: 2-7-1 (5), 31/39, 9/30, 24/29
71-80: 5-5-0 (10), 21/23, 7/18, 21/24
81-82: 0-2-0 (0), 2/7, 0/3, 6/7

 

OVERTIME RESULTS (6-6; 108-111 all-time)
Oct. 18 at CGY: L, 4-3 (GWG-Monahan, 2:26)
Nov. 11 vs. NJD: L, 2-1 (GWG-Greene, 0:29)
Dec. 5 at WSH: L, 3-2 (GWG-Johansson, 2:38)
Dec. 6 vs. EDM: W, 4-3 (GWG-Ristolainen, 0:57)
Dec. 16 vs. NYI: W, 3-2 (GWG-Ristolainen, 0:42)

Jan. 5 at CHI: L, 4-3 (GWG-Kane, 0:56)
Jan. 20 vs. DET: W, 3-2 (GWG-Okposo, 4:34)
Jan. 21 at MTL: W, 3-2 (GWG-Bogosian, 1:48)
Jan. 24 at NSH: W, 5-4 (GWG-Eichel, 2:35)

Feb. 2 vs. NYR: L, 2-1 (GWG-Kreider, 3:56)
Feb. 7 vs. SJS: W, 5-4 (GWG-Kane, 1:05)
Feb. 28 vs. NSH: L, 5-4 (GWG-Forsberg, 2:45)

 

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-6; 69-64 all-time)
Oct. 25 at PHI: L, 4-3 (GDG-Giroux)
Nov. 9 vs. OTT: L, 2-1 (GDG-Ryan)
Nov. 19 vs. PIT: W, 2-1 (GDG-C. O’Reilly)
Nov. 23 vs. DET: L, 2-1 (GDG-Vanek)
Dec. 17 at CAR: L, 2-1 (GDG-Stempniak)
Dec. 20 at FLA: L, 4-3 (GDG-Trocheck)
March 4 vs. TBL: L, 2-1 (GDG-Point)
March 17 at ANA: W, 2-1 (GDG-Girgensons)

Game Preview: 4/9/17 at TBL

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, April 8
Buffalo 0 at Florida 3
Goals: N/A
Goalie: Lehner (34 saves/37 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 3/4; Shots: Florida 37 – Buffalo 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 400)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 81 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3; injured reserve) – 45 games
Taylor Fedun (foot, March 20) – 9 games
Kyle Okposo (illness, March 28) – 5 games
Anders Nilsson (undisclosed, April 5) – 2 games
Marcus Foligno (knee, April 8) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
4/3:
Recalled F Alexander Nylander from Rochester (AHL)
4/5: Recalled G Linus Ullmark from Rochester (AHL)
4/6: Assigned G Linus Ullmark to Rochester (AHL)
4/7: Recalled G Linus Ullmark from Rochester (AHL); Assigned D Brendan Guhle to Rochester (AHL) from Prince George (WHL)
4/8: Signed F Sean Malone to a two-year, entry-level contract

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at LIGHTNING

  • This is the fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Lightning this season.
  • Last meeting: Tampa Bay defeated Buffalo 2-1 in Buffalo on March 4
  • The Sabres are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Lightning; 3-7-0 on the road.
  • This is the 94th game all-time between Buffalo and Tampa Bay; Buffalo has a 52-34-7 series record.
  • The Sabres are 28-16-3 on the road against the Lightning all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 5-2-1 all-time on April 9 (regular season only).
  • April 9, 1980: Bob Sauve records the first playoff shutout in franchise history with a 6-0 win vs. Vancouver.
  • April 9, 1988: John Tucker sets a franchise playoff record with four goals in a 6-2 win vs. Boston.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are 23-15-7 all-time in the final game of the regular season, including a 6-3-2 record since 2005-06.
  • After going 4-9-3 in their first 16 games against Atlantic Division opponents this season, the Sabres are 9-3-1 in their last 13.
  • Buffalo is 56-for-65 (86.2%) on the penalty kill in its last 25 games.
  • The Sabres need a win tonight to avoid being swept in the season series against the Lightning for the first time ever.

TOPPING TAMPA

  • The Sabres’ 28-16-3 (.628) record in Tampa Bay is the team’s best all-time road record against any Eastern Conference opponent. The team’s next best road record against an Eastern conference opponent is its 41-26-11 (.596) mark at Washington.
  • Buffalo’s all-time record of 52-33-8 (.602) against Tampa Bay is the team’s third-best record against any Eastern Conference opponent, trailing only their 87-48-20 (.626) mark against Washington and their 113-67-26 (.612) record against Toronto.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s 19th of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began with a 3-0 loss last night at Florida. The Sabres are 8-8-3 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 6-11-1 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets this season is: four points (2), three points (2), two points (8), one point (2) and zero points (4).

LOCAL KID MAKES GOOD

  • West Seneca native Sean Malone made his NHL debut last night at Florida. Malone become the seventh player born in the Buffalo area to appear in a regular-season game for the Sabres, joining Cole Schneider, Justin Bailey, Marcus Foligno, Patrick Kaleta, Tim Kennedy and Scott Thomas.
  • Aside from these seven, 10 other Sabres players in franchise history have been born in New York State:
    • Peter Ciavaglia (Albany); Jerry D’Amigo (Binghamton); Zach Bogosian and Mike Hurlbut (Massena); Tracey Pratt (New York City); Rory Fitzpatrick, Brian Gionta and Derek Whitmore (Rochester); Tim Connolly (Syracuse); Connor Knapp (York)

JACK ATTACK

  • In the time since his Nov. 29 return from an injury that sidelined him for 21 games, Jack Eichel is tied for eighth among all NHL skaters with 57 points (24+33) and leads the league with 245 shots on goal.
  • Eichel has logged 42 points (16+26) in his last 39 games, including 12 multi-point outings during that stretch. The Sabres are 14-2-0 this season (and 22-5-1 in his career) when he has at least two points.
  • Eichel’s .95 points per game rank him 10th among all players with at least 20 games played this season.
  • If Eichel records four points tonight, he will be the eighth player in franchise history to record a point per game in one of his first two full NHL seasons, joining Rick Martin (1971-72), Rene Robert (1972-73), Dave Andreychuk (1983-84), Phil Housley (1983-84), Pierre Turgeon (1988-89), Alexander Mogilny (1990-91) and Thomas Vanek (2006-07).

*All rankings as of the end of last night’s game.

THE KANE EVENT

  • Evander Kane has scored each of his 27 goals this season in his last 57 games.
  • Kane is tied for 15th in the NHL with 24 even-strength goals despite not scoring his first until Dec. 3.
  • Since Dec. 1, Kane ranks ninth among all NHL skaters in goals (27) and leads the league in even-strength goals (24).

*All rankings as of the end of last night’s game.

SOPHOMORE SURGE
In their second full NHL seasons, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart have each improved on their points-per-game totals from 2015-16.

2015-16

2016-17

Jack Eichel

Sam Reinhart

Jack Eichel

Sam Reinhart

G/GP

.30 (25)

.29 (24)

.40 (33)

.22 (18)

A/GP

.40 (33)

.24 (20)

.55 (45)

.38 (32)

P/GP

.69 (57)

.53 (43)

.95 (78)

.60 (49)

SOG/GP

2.9 (238)

2.1 (172)

4.1 (335)

2.3 (186)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

THEY’VE GOT THE POWER

  • The Sabres rank first in the league with a 24.6% success rate on the power play.
  • Buffalo has not finished a season ranked in the top five in power-play percentage since the 2005-06 season (third, 21.2%) and the team has led the league only once (1991-92, 22.5%)
  • The team’s current power-play percentage would rank as the third-best conversion rate in franchise history and the best since the team’s 25.4% mark in 1975-76. It would be the 13th-best season by any team since the league began publishing the stat in 1987-88.

ASSIST-OLAINEN
Rasmus Ristolainen
finished last night’s game tied for 34th among all NHL skaters with 39 assists this season.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 20.4 percent of his teammates’ goals. Only one Sabres defenseman has ever recorded an assist on more than 20 percent of his teammates’ goals: Phil Housley (22.6%) in 1989-90.
  • Ristolainen would need to fail to record an assist on each of his teammates’ next five goals to fall below 20 percent.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings after last night’s game)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 24.6% PP% (1st)
  • Eichel: 4.1 S/GP (1st)
  • Foligno: 279 hits (5th)
  • Kane: 3.7 S/GP (5th)
  • Nilsson: .933 EV SV% (6th), .923 SV% (10th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:31 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 57.9 FO% (5th)
  • Ristolainen: 24 PPA (4th), 26:31 TOI/GP (5th), 39 A (T-7th, defensemen)

BUF-TBL Connections
Josh Gorges:

  • Represented Canada alongside Braydon Coburn at the 2004 World Junior Championship.

Dmitry Kulikov:

  • Teammates with Jason Garrison for the Florida Panthers from 2009-2012.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Represented Sweden with Victor Hedman at the 2010 World Championship.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Represented Canada alongside Jonathan Drouin at the 2014 World Junior Championship.
  • Brayden Point was a member of Team Canada along with Reinhart at the 2015 World Junior Championship.

World Championship:

  • Jake McCabe played with Tyler Johnson for the United States at the 2014 World Championship.

NHL Draft:

  • Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (19th overall) were both first-round picks in the 2012 NHL Draft.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall) and Jonathan Drouin (3rd overall) were both taken in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Foligno (279), Ristolainen (193), Gorges (142)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (158), McCabe (114), Gorges (107)
Shots: Kane (258), Eichel (245), O’Reilly (188)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10:
4-4-2 (10), 23/24, 8/35, 26/31
11-20: 3-4-3 (9), 15/26, 6/31, 28/36
21-30: 5-3-2 (12), 31/26, 8/30, 13/24
31-40: 4-4-2 (10), 27/31, 7/34, 21/28
41-50: 4-5-1 (9), 28/33, 6/27, 21/28
51-60: 6-4-0 (12), 26/25, 6/25, 24/30
61-70: 2-7-1 (5), 31/39, 9/30, 24/29
71-80: 5-5-0 (10), 21/23, 7/18, 21/24
81-82: 0-1-0 (0), 0/3, 0/2, 3/4

OVERTIME RESULTS (6-6; 108-111 all-time)
Oct. 18 at CGY: L, 4-3 (GWG-Monahan, 2:26)
Nov. 11 vs. NJD: L, 2-1 (GWG-Greene, 0:29)
Dec. 5 at WSH: L, 3-2 (GWG-Johansson, 2:38)
Dec. 6 vs. EDM: W, 4-3 (GWG-Ristolainen, 0:57)
Dec. 16 vs. NYI: W, 3-2 (GWG-Ristolainen, 0:42)

Jan. 5 at CHI: L, 4-3 (GWG-Kane, 0:56)
Jan. 20 vs. DET: W, 3-2 (GWG-Okposo, 4:34)
Jan. 21 at MTL: W, 3-2 (GWG-Bogosian, 1:48)
Jan. 24 at NSH: W, 5-4 (GWG-Eichel, 2:35)

Feb. 2 vs. NYR: L, 2-1 (GWG-Kreider, 3:56)
Feb. 7 vs. SJS: W, 5-4 (GWG-Kane, 1:05)
Feb. 28 vs. NSH: L, 5-4 (GWG-Forsberg, 2:45)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-6; 69-64 all-time)
Oct. 25 at PHI: L, 4-3 (GDG-Giroux)
Nov. 9 vs. OTT: L, 2-1 (GDG-Ryan)
Nov. 19 vs. PIT: W, 2-1 (GDG-C. O’Reilly)
Nov. 23 vs. DET: L, 2-1 (GDG-Vanek)
Dec. 17 at CAR: L, 2-1 (GDG-Stempniak)
Dec. 20 at FLA: L, 4-3 (GDG-Trocheck)
March 4 vs. TBL: L, 2-1 (GDG-Point)
March 17 at ANA: W, 2-1 (GDG-Girgensons)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Goals

Tyler Ennis … 3 goals … 100 NHL goals
Assists
Brian Gionta … 2 assists … 300 NHL assists
Points
Evander Kane … 1 point … 300 NHL points

RECENT MILESTONES
Alexander Nylander … 1st NHL game … April 3 vs. TOR
Sean Malone … 1st NHL game … April 8 at FLA