Top-line right winger is a high priority

‘Eichel could work his way up the depth chart as the season goes on, but it makes sense to start him in the middle of Gionta (a veteran who can offer tips) and Foligno (who would discourage teams from taking liberties with the rookie).’

Merrimack’s Tim Schaller had productive year in Buffalo Sabres organization

‘“I played 18 games in the NHL and I learned a lot,” Schaller said. “I learned what I need to do to succeed in that league. I’d be a third or fourth line guy. I have no doubt in my mind I can make Buffalo in the fall.’

Saturday’s Rochester Coverage

Chadd Cassidy fired as Amerks head coach (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)
Sabres fire Amerks coach Chadd Cassidy (Olean Times Herald)
Buffalo Sabres fire AHL Rochester coach Cassidy (AP)
Chadd Cassidy relieved of duties as Amerks’ head coach (Amerks.com)

Sabres have pieces that could attract Babcock

‘While the Sabres seem to be in good position, other teams could join the bidding for Babcock. St. Louis, which is stacked at every position, is weighing the fate of coach Ken Hitchcock. Boston, which fired General Manager Peter Chiarelli after a disappointing season, might follow by ditching coach Claude Julien.’

Sabres raise prices on season tickets

‘The organization sent invoices to fans this week, and increases vary from 3.8 percent to 6.1 percent for an across-the-board hike of 5 percent. The 44-game ticket packages range from $1,146 to $4,688, with fans paying between $1 and $5 more for each game to bring the totals to $28 to $112 per outing.’

AP sources: McLellan on list of Sabres coaching candidates

‘No interviews have taken place yet. And the search, being led by general manager Tim Murray, isn’t expected to speed up until at least next week, when Sabres owner Terry Pegula can turn his attention away from the NFL draft, one of the people said. Pegula and his wife Kim purchased the Buffalo Bills in October.’

With Detroit eliminated, let ‘Babcock Watch’ begin

‘The Sabres are among a number of teams who will covet the Cup-winning and gold medal-winning coach. The Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins have all been linked to Babcock as possible landing spots.’

Sabres looking for a net gain

‘Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk is the top free agent. The Vezina Trophy finalist will get a big raise from his one-year, $800,000 contract, but the Wild may push to re-sign him before July 1. The sides don’t plan to discuss a contract until after the playoffs.’

Many questions, but Sabres won’t answer

‘The other answer I get all the time is we already know their plans. We do? Really? No, we don’t. Here’s some questions I’d like answered by Murray…’.

Former coach Pronovost dies at age 84

‘He went 52-29 with 23 ties from October 1977 to December 1978, when he was fired on the same day as General Manager Punch Imlach. Pronovost took over as coach for Floyd Smith and was replaced by Billy Inglis.’

Off-Season Game Plan: Buffalo Sabres

‘Depending on how young the Sabres wish to be on the blueline, they could venture into the free agent market, not unlike the forward options, seeking out relatively younger free agents that would find regular playing time appealing; Matt Irwin, Matt Hunwick, Matt Bartkowski – maybe the Sabres should roll out a welcome Matt to improve their blueline depth.’

Ennis’ progress a sign of great things to come

‘The hunger Ennis has displayed to improve rather than take time off and rest up for next season – or at least until it’s time to start training again – is what opens the door for Tyler Ennis to perhaps become the champion all of Buffalo hopes he can be.’

Bettman sees tanking as media-driven issue

‘“I don’t think that teams tank,” Bettman said. “I think teams rebuild, and in terms of the perception we have the mechanisms in place that should, despite suggestions to the contrary, eliminate that debate.”’

Lottery snub aside, Sabre fans should be Jacked

‘First of all, in just about any other year, Jack Eichel is the presumptuous first pick. He isn’t exactly a slouch. Eichel won the Hobey Baker Award this year as the NCAA’s top player. He was a vital cog in the Boston University team that skated all the way to the Frozen Four, but felt short in the national championship to a Cinderella team in Providence.’

Rick Jeanneret on cancer, criticism and why you never heard him talk about tanking

‘“In some cases, I know I can’t hit the high notes like I used to be able to,” he said. “That’s progression and time, that’s all that is. I have to work a little harder at the games to maintain my concentration. It all came so naturally at one point. As you get older, some of your skills erode.’