Sabres trade Montador’s negotiating rights

‘The Buffalo Sabres have traded the negotiating rights of defenseman Steve Montador to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a seventh-round draft selection in the 2012 or 2013 Entry Draft.’

Sabres agree to terms with Nathan Gerbe

‘Gerbe scored 31 points (16+15) in 64 games for the Sabres last season, including 15 goals in Buffalo’s final 40 games.’

Sabres and Amerks begin a new era together

‘“I don’t like to consider this as leaving Portland. It wasn’t a necessity to leave Portland; we had a great thing going there. But, it was all about arriving in Rochester,” said Pegula. “Our plan is to make this franchise a shining star to develop our players, and we want to have successful teams, obviously.”’

Keep an ete on the Sabres when free agency opens

‘Five will get you ten, not to mention a beef on weck, that when Brad Richards and his agent Pat Morris open for business on Friday at the offices of Newport Sports in Mississauga, the Sabres will be front and centre with a mega-offer for this year’s prized free agent.’

Weinrich will keep a pledge

‘Weinrich said Wednesday that while he is still under contract with the Sabres, he will not join the coaching staff of the Rochester Americans next season. “Being an assistant coach and moving to Rochester, I decided I wasn’t going to do that,” Weinrich said, adding his contract with the Sabres runs through August. “It’s now wait and see what else comes up next.”‘

Power Play: Bucky Gleason plays GM for a Day

‘Busting open Pegula’s piggy bank makes for an exciting opportunity but a daunting challenge just the same. For the first time in franchise history, anything and everything is possible if the Sabres are aggressive, creative and smart.’

Terry Pegula ‘arrives’ in Rochester

‘”We did this deal with Curt Styres and Lewis Staats. I know they are big supporters of the Sabres, and I consider them my friends now. They were really great in getting this thing done, also. I hope that we’ll see each other a lot more in the future.”‘

GM Darcy Regier discusses Amerks future

‘”It makes you appreciate the opportunities that were lost and now are regained,” Regier said at the press conference on Wednesday morning that introduced new owner Terry Pegula to the Rochester media. “More than anything else, and I know this is what the people in Rochester wanted, is a commitment from us to have a very competitive hockey team in Rochester.”‘

Christmas comes early for Regier

‘"You have to give, in this case Terry, a tremendous amount of credit because he’s opened up the ability for us to focus on unrestricted free agents and given us the resources," Regier said. "It’s a small list this year, but knowing that we have the ability to compete for those players with the other teams is tremendous."’

Buffalo Sabres brass in Rochester today

‘The NHL executives are expected to explain just why they wanted the AHL franchise back, and how they plan to use the Amerks for both prospect development and Sabres brand enhancement.’

Vanek primed for captaincy

‘By last year, Vanek had become one of the most respected voices in the room, someone whose words reverberated and the media gravitated to. Vanek hates losing, and he’s not afraid to let everyone know it and shoulder the blame.’

Connolly, McCormick may factor in Sabres’ plans

‘"We’ll continue talking," Regier said Monday. "I’ll have a conversation with Cody McCormick’s agent, with Tim Connolly’s agent, and we’ll see where it goes from there."’

Center is Sabres’ top priority in free agency

‘Assuming he leaves, how do the Sabres replace Connolly? For all the criticism the Baldwinsville native has taken, he produced pretty well before last season, averaging .89 points a game from 2005-10. It’s not as simple as letting Connolly go and bringing someone else in, even if owner Terry Pegula and company break the bank or aggressively pursue someone like they did with Regehr.’

Perseverance pays off, as Lieuwen picked in NHL draft

‘”There’s no easy steps, especially with the ride that I’ve been on,” he said. “Everything’s been worked for, and I’ve had to be patient. I think I’m better because of it.”‘

Tuesday’s Portland Coverage

Portland Pirates sail under a new flag (Portland Press Herald)

Pirates align with Phoenix Coyotes (Portland Daily Sun)

Pirates make Phoenix affiliation official (Maine Hockey Journal)

Maine’s Portland Pirates gets new affiliate (AP)

Pirates and Coyotes Announce Affiliation Agreement (PortlandPirates.com)