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30 prospects in 30 days: Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy has blazing speed

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Xavier Worthy showed a level of speed at the combine that left announcers speechless.

The wide receiver prospect out of Texas set an NFL Draft Combine record with his 4.21-second 40-yard dash. Worthy says his ability to go from 100 to 0 is what sets him apart from the other prospects.  

“I feel like a lot of receivers with my speed don’t have the ability to stop like I do, so I think that’s what separates me,” Worthy said.

Last season he had 75 receptions for 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. He’s one of the most dynamic playmakers in the draft and models his game after a former All-Pro receiver and returner from the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Desean Jackson was my idol growing up, that was my favorite player growing up,” he said. “I’ve watched his film since I was 5 years old and he’s been my favorite player since.”

The tradeoff for all that speed is size. Worthy is small, measuring 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds. When asked about concerns over his size, it sounds like the chip on his shoulder weighs 165 pounds as well.

“I feel like it was my drive,” said Worthy. “I was always told when I was younger that I was too small and couldn’t do it, so it was always my want to and my drive.”

Worthy did meet formally with the Bills at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. National draft analysts have a wide range of projections when it comes to the Texas wideout, from the first round to the third round. 

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Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.

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Boys basketball all-state picks: Timon’s Jaiden Harrison is AA player of the year

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After becoming Western New York’s all-time leading scorer in boys basketball and leading Bishop Timon-St. Jude to the Catholic state final, senior guard Jaiden Harrison has been selected as the Class AA player of the year by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

Harrison, who plans to walk on the Arkansas State team coached by Jamestown native Bryan Hodgson, averaged 20.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists during his senior season, leading the Tigers to a 25-3 record and second consecutive Manhattan Cup championship.


Timon’s Jaiden Harrison claims WNY scoring record he was raised to shoot for

Timon had three all-state picks, with senior guard Jacob Humphrey making the second team, and junior swingman Nakyhi Harris picked for the fourth team.

Jakye Rainey, the senior guard who broke Christian Laettner’s all-time scoring record at Nichols, was named to the Class AA first team after averaging 29.7 points to lead the area.

Lucas Brown, the Salamanca senior who has committed to play D’Youville University, was picked for the first team in Class B for leading his team to the state semifinals, averaging 25.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3.9 steals.

Carson Swanson, a junior who averaged 28.7 points, 6.9 asists, 5.7 rebounds and 5.5 steals for Westfield, was chosen for the Class C first team, along with Randolph’s Drew Hind, who averaged 21.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.6 steals as a junior.

The other WNY boys basketball players selected to the NYSPHSAA all-state teams are:

Class AAA

Jordan Alexander (Lancaster), 4th team; Nick Estell (Niagara Falls), 9th team; Ephraim Strong (Niagara Falls), honorable mention; John Strong (Niagara Falls), honorable mention.

Class AA

Jakye Rainey (Nichols), 1st team; Jacob Humphrey (Timon), 2nd team; Amir Moye (Health Sciences), 3rd team; Nakyhi Harris (Timon), 4th team; Jaydian Johnson (Jamestown), 5th team; Nicholas Purdie (Canisius), 10th team; Jaymeir Goosby (St. Joe’s), 11th; Chris McDonald (Orchard park), 12th team; Luke Walck (Niagara Wheatfield), 13th team; Nate Errington (Frontier), 14th team; Charlie Croff (Lockport), honorable mention; Matt LaRusch (Frontier), honorable mention; David Washington (Hutch Tech), honorable mention; Pat Benzir (Canisius), honorable mention.

Class A

Ahmir Dunn (Amherst), 4th team; Daryl Montgomery (Cheektowaga), 7th team; Carter Lampke (Williamsville South), 8th team; Sam Platt (Pioneer), 14th team; Nate Blenman (Amherst), honorable mention; Justus Kleitz (Iroquois), honorable mention; Jayce Wylke (Grand Island), honorable mention; Christian Szablewski (St. Mary’s), honorable mention.

Class B

Lucas Brown (Salamanca), 1st team; Taesyn Slating (Eden), 2nd team; Davion White (Fredonia), 2nd team; Roger Markham (Falconer), 3rd team; Shamere Davis (MST Seneca), 6th team; Landon Braman (Newfane), 7th team; Ben Dickinson (Newfane), 11th team; Ezekiel Alexander (Olmsted), honorable mention; Patrick Bodecker (East Aurora), honorable mention; Cameron D’Hilly (Cleveland Hill), Mike Hahn (Fredonia), honorable mention; Carson Kwiatowski (Allegany-Limestone), honorable mention; Jacari McCray (Olmsted), honorable mention.

Class C

Carson Swanson (Westfield), 1st team; Drew Hind (Randolph), 1st team; Carter Brink (Panama), 2nd team; Gavin Smith (Frewsburg), 5th team; Quentin Centner (Gowanda), 6th team; Luey Castro (Barker), 9th team; Owen Chudy (Ellicottville), 10th team; Derek Ebersole (North Collins), 10th team; Roan Kelly (Randolph), honorable mention.

Class D

Jon Sheldon (Pine Valley), 5th team; Kaden Beckerink (Clymer), honorable mention; Miles Volk (Pine Valley), honorable mention.

***

Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.

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Who will Bills draft in 1st round? See what experts are saying

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The NFL Draft begins Thursday night, and the Bills currently hold the 28th overall selection in the first round. What they will do with it, however, remains a mystery.

Experts from around the NFL media landscape have been completing mock drafts for months, and WIVB News 4 compiled 30 recent projections to determine a consensus on Buffalo’s first-round selection.

Shocker: most experts have the Bills taking a wide receiver in the first round.

Buffalo is especially thin at the receiver spot following the departures of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis this offseason. Curtis Samuel, Khalil Shakir, Mack Hollins and Justin Shorter are currently the only receivers signed to the roster.


Everything Bills-related to know before the 2024 NFL Draft

If Buffalo stays put at 28th overall, the most popular pick is Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, who was mocked to the Bills 11 times. Not far behind is LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr., with some experts projecting the Bills could trade up to snag him, while others think he could fall to No. 28. Another Texas receiver, Xavier Worthy, was picked to Buffalo five times across the compiled mock drafts.

Draft analysts have hailed this year’s receiving class as one of the deepest in a long time, and the consensus top three of Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze will almost certainly be gone by the time the Bills are on the clock — unless the Bills made a massive leap up the board.

Will Buffalo trade up? Seven mock drafts either had the Bills moving up to select a receiver or indicated they would, good for just under 25%.

You can view each mock draft that WIVB compiled below:

Buffalo Kickoff Live Mock Draft (April 16)

Heather Prusak, WIVB: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
Thad Brown, WROC: Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
Tim Graham, The Athletic: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
Sal Capaccio, WGR550: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Matt Parrino, Syracuse.com: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU


Buffalo Kickoff Live’s 2024 Mock Draft Special

Other NFL mock drafts

Charles Davis, NFL.com (April 24): Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
Yahoo Sports Staff (April 24): Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia
Sporting News (April 24): Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports (April 24): Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports (April 24): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Josh Edwards, CBS Sports (April 24): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports (April 24): Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois
Kyle Stackpole, CBS Sports (April 24): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (April 24): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
ESPN NFL Nation (April 23): Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
R.J. White, CBS Sports (April 23): Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU*
*Mock trade: Bills receive Nos. 20, 84, Seahawks receive Nos. 28, 60, 160
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com (April 23): Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois
Rob Rang, Fox Sports (April 23): Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU*
*Mock trade: Bills receive No. 16, Seahawks receive Nos. 28, 60
Danny Heifetz, The Ringer (April 23): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (April 23): Rome Odunze, WR, Washington*
*Mock trade: Bills trade with Broncos to move to No. 12
NBC Sports Staff (April 23): Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
Ben Solak, The Ringer (April 22): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Josh Edwards, CBS Sports (April 24): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Eric Edholm, NFL.com (April 22): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Jordan Reid, ESPN (April 22): Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
PFF Analysts (April 22): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Chad Reuter, NFL.com (April 19): Marshawn Kneeland, Edge, Western Michigan
Dan Parr, NFL.com (April 18): Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas
Dane Brugler, The Athletic (April 17): Brian Thomas Jr., LSU, WR*
*Mock trade: Bills receive No. 17, Jaguars receive Nos. 28, 133, 144, 2025 second-round pick
Connor Rogers, NBC Sports (April 17): Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon
Peter Schrager, Good Morning Football (April 16): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

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30 prospects in 30 days: South Carolina’s Xavier Legette has ideal mix of skills for NFL

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The wide receivers in this year’s draft class have different strengths. Some have blazing speed, some have ideal size, some have great hands. Xavier Legette has all that and more.

Marvin Harrison, Jr., Malik Nabors, and Rome Odunze are considered the top three receivers in the draft and then the debate begins when you get to number four. Does Xavier Legette believe he’s being overlooked in this loaded wide receiver draft class?

“It really doesn’t bother me at all because I think highly of myself as well,” Legette said. “What includes me is just being fast and my size and my ability to move. I feel like everyone is seeing that and I feel like that’s what is having me in the talks.”

Legette put up huge numbers at South Carolina last season –71 catches, over 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. 

There are so many things to like about him as a prospect and a player who could become a gamechanger in the NFL but there is one concern. He’s a late bloomer. Until last season, he had never caught more than 18 passes or had over 200 yards in a season.

Xavier Legette is projected to be a second round pick and could end up being the steal of the draft. 

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Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.

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4 check: Sabres reintroduce Lindy Ruff

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — What’s old is new again in Sabreland. Reprising the glory days of Buffalo hockey by rehiring the club’s all-time coaching wins leader, general manager Kevyn Adams was adamant about Lindy Ruff being the right man to lead the Sabres into a winning future.

From the surreality of forward-thinking nostalgia, here are some highlights from Ruff’s reintroductory press conference Tuesday.

‘Accountability is a big word’

A concept that coach Don Granato struggled to implement and explain during his disappointing final season behind the Sabres bench turned into a postseason theme. Granato was held to account for Buffalo’s inability to end the longest playoff drought in NHL, and several players spoke of the new for greater accountability in the dressing room during their exit interviews.

“A lot of times this year we got away with some stuff that we shouldn’t have gotten away with,” top-line center Tage Thompson said. “We felt comfortable maybe sometimes a little too much deviating from game plans.”

Ruff, whose 1,774 games as an NHL head coach rank fourth all-time, gave a clear summation of how accountability will factor into his Sabres renaissance.

“Accountability to me starts with the player himself,” Ruff said. “First thing he does is hold himself accountable. Did I do enough to get this team to where it needed to go? Before you can be accountable or look for accountability from somebody else, you’ve got to be accountable to yourself.”


Sabres GM Kevyn Adams: Lindy Ruff ‘is here to win’

Ruff acknowledged that doesn’t yell at players today as much as he might have when taking over the Sabres for the first time in 1997. But he maintains a tried and true method for holding players accountable, which Granato rarely employed.

“My biggest tool is to take ice time away,” Ruff said.

To that end, Ruff elaborated, “your best players should be on the ice at all key moments. Your top players should be the guys that lead the way. First, they’re accountable to themselves first. Accountability is a big word. Accountability starts with each player taking a look in the mirror.”

Return to better days

Alex Tuch grew up down the Thruway in Baldwinsville, cheering for the goatheaded Sabres during their run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2006-06 and Presidents Trophy winning season after, singing along to the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Better Days” tuned that soundtracked the era.

“I’ve probably watched Lindy coach about as many games as I’ve actually played or more than the amount of games I’ve played for the Sabres,” Tuch after cleaning out his locker last week. “He was my favorite coach growing up. Those were the teams that I watched, or sat on the couch and watched with my dad. To see what he was able to do with those teams was really cool. It was really special.”

The youngest team in the league over the past two seasons, the Sabres at times evoked the spirit that upstart team coming out of the 2005 lockout. Now with Ruff back behind the bench, there will be more comparisons to draw.

“This this team is so similar to where we were at back then,” Ruff said. “Deep with talent. It just we needed to play the game the right way.”

Ruff said he heard from former players Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek, receiving the message that, “you’re the guy that can get them there.” Wiser in retirement, those Sabres might not yet have realized Ruff’s virtue back in 2005.

“If you remember, I was pretty hard on like a Thomas Vanek,” Ruff said. “And Jason Pominville, we we actually waived him and sent him down just before he became the player he was.”


Terry Pegula hails Lindy Ruff as ‘most competitive person I’ve ever met’

Ruff around the edges

Told of Tuch’s backing, Ruff joked Tuesday that the Sabres winger might feel differently once they get a week into training camp.

“You know what? Not everyone is going to love him and at times we’re all going to hate him,” Tuch said. “That’s what happens when you have a coach that asks a lot of you. With that is going to come a lot of success.”

Tuch indicated he is “super excited for the opportunity to be coached by such a legend,” and that his teammates will appreciate Ruff’s sometimes abrasive style.

“We’re pumped,” Tuch said. “I think he fits the mold of what we talked about as a team and just talking to individual guys about what we need to make it to that next level. I think he’s perfect for it and guys knew he was a serious candidate so we were talking about it. I’ve only talked to a few guys since it happened but we all think it’s going to work out for us.”

Ruff noted how his coaching methods have evolved since behind fired from the Sabres in 2011.

“The game has changed so much,” he said. “Lindy Ruff has changed so much.”

Evaluating himself during his time as an assistant with the New York Rangers, he vowed to communicate better with players, and to let go of losses easier when he returned to head coaching with the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils

“I actually laugh at some of my coaching style because a lot of things have changed,” Ruff said. “I won’t go into a lot of detail, but I’m a lot better coach now than I was when I left.”

Personal business

Ruff has now been part of the Sabres as a player or coach during every decade of the organizations history. He stayed connected to Buffalo during his time elsewhere, rooting for the Bills and returning regularly to area golf courses during the offseason. He was a prominent participant in last summer’s memorial for legendary broadcaster Rick Jeanneret.


‘RJ is proud of the job you’ve done’: Don Granato draws praise from Lindy Ruff

“I’ve lived in this city and have owned a house in this city since 1979,” Ruff said. “So, I think I understand from my playing days to my coaching days what a successful team – and how great this city is when you have a successful hockey club. And really enjoyed all that time. Enjoyed that time as a player and enjoyed the time as a coach. It would mean a lot to have this group of players experience what I was able to experience as a player and as a coach.”

Ruff would also like the current Sabres players to experience something that eluded him during his first run as coach — winning a Stanley Cup.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity that I’m getting,” Ruff said. “I get a chance to do something that I wasn’t able to do as a player. Then I became the coach of the team and didn’t succeed with what I set out to do. And now I’m getting one more opportunity in which I really feel I’m blessed to have that opportunity.”

***

Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.

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Terry Pegula hails Lindy Ruff as ‘most competitive person I’ve ever met’

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In a rare public-speaking appearance Tuesday, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula praised new head coach Lindy Ruff as someone who “knows how to take a team to another level.”

Pegula gave the opening statement at Ruff’s introductory press conference after the 64-year-old was officially hired Monday. It was his first time speaking to the media since the groundbreaking at the new Buffalo Bills stadium last June.


Sabres GM Kevyn Adams: Lindy Ruff ‘is here to win’

“He may be the most competitive person I’ve ever met in my life,” Pegula said of Ruff. “Just go fishing with him and you may never go fishing with him again. He’s also never going to ask anyone to do something he wouldn’t do himself. So, I welcome Lindy as our next head coach.”

While reminiscing about Ruff’s history with the Sabres, Pegula mentioned the infamous 1999 Stanley Cup Final loss against Dallas and how Buffalo was “probably a skate blade on a line” away from a championship, among other moments and accomplishments during Ruff’s first stint.

Pegula also thanked Don Granato and members of his staff for their contributions to the franchise, mentioning that Granato apologized to him, general manager Kevyn Adams, the fans and players for letting them down.

“That goes to show you what kind of guy Donny is,” Pegula said of Granato’s apology. “He has left the Sabres in a better place and we appreciate that.”

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Sabres GM Kevyn Adams: Lindy Ruff ‘is here to win’

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The reintroduction of Lindy Ruff as Sabres head coach likely invoked plenty of nostalgia for fans who remember the successes of his 16-year run behind the bench in Buffalo.

However, Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams made it clear during Ruff’s introductory press conference Tuesday that this hire is far from just a feel-good story.

“It is tremendous that Lindy has a long-storied history in the Buffalo Sabres. It is terrific that he is connected to the City of Buffalo and the Western New York community — but that’s really just an added bonus,” Adams said. “He’s the right person for this job, and I truly believe that he is the person that’s going to take us to the next level.”

The search for a new Sabres head coach lasted just about a week, but despite the relative shortness of the hiring process, Adams said he spoke to “double-digit” candidates before settling on Ruff.

“I just kept coming back to the conversations with Lindy,” Adams said. “There was a lot of really highly qualified candidates, but every hour that went by, I felt more and more strongly. After in-depth conversations with Terry (Pegula), this was our guy.”


Sabres GM: ‘Our standard needs to be higher’

While Ruff brings back a strong familiarity with the franchise and city, he also has a familiarity with Adams. The Sabres GM spent two years behind the bench with Ruff as an assistant coach from 2011-2013 and another two years in a player development role.

Adams mentioned Ruff’s ability to lead, challenge players while building a relationship and handle “non-negotiables within a system” as some of his biggest takeaways during his time on Ruff’s staff. He acknowledged their past relations matters, but despite the connection, he emphasized that this hire is about on-ice success only.

“Ultimately, as I went through it, because there’s a tremendous amount of coaching candidates out there, it just for me came back to this is the right coach for this team to win,” Adams said.

Ruff joins the Sabres as they look to end an NHL-record 13-year playoff drought that began while he was still behind the bench. The 64-year-old coached Buffalo’s last postseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011.

Now, over a decade later, Adams is confident Ruff will be the next to do so.

“That’s why he’s here, he’s here to win,” Adams said. “The past is the past – that’s great. But this is about now. This is about the players in that locker room now. This is about the fans that come in here and can believe in something great. That’s why he’s sitting here.”

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

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30 prospects in 30 days: UCF’s Javon Baker could end up being steal of the draft

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In a draft class that is stacked with talented wide receivers who get a lot of hype, Central Florida’s Javon Baker is flying under the radar a bit and could end up being the​ steal of the draft.

Baker started his college career at Alabama but was stuck behind several future NFL players, he transferred to UCF and took off. Last season, he played 13 games, had 52 catches, seven for touchdowns.

“Me personally, when I walk onto that line of scrimmage, I just know the defender can’t beat me,” Baker said.

Baker excels at yards after the catch, something Brandon Beane and the Bills are looking to add. He averaged and eye-popping 22 yards per receptions in 2023.

It’s a mentality thing. Once I get the ball in my hands I know that first guy ain’t tackling me,” Baker said. “​I’m a bigger receiver, 6-foot-2, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. That right there is I know corners are scared of that to a point. And then my releases and my acceleration and my quickness, plays a role in all of that. When I walk up to that line of scrimmage, I can see their eyes already get big. At that point I know I’ve got them.”

Baker is projected to be a second or third round pick.

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Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.

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Sabres hire Lindy Ruff for second stint as head coach

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Sabres brought back Lindy Ruff as head coach on Monday, marking the return of a fan favorite who led the team to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final.

Ruff replaces Don Granato, who was fired last Tuesday after three seasons behind the bench.

The Sabres have not made the playoff since firing Ruff during the 2012-13 season, stretching their NHL-record drought to 13 seasons. Ruff coached the Sabres’ last playoff game in 2011.

“As I went through the hiring process, it quickly became clear Lindy was the person for the job. He has experience, a proven track record, familiarity with young players, and so much more,” general manager Kevyn Adams said in a statement on the team website. “I want to be clear though that this hire was not made with nostalgia in mind. Lindy is the right person for the job now and any history with our organization and community is simply an added bonus. I believe wholeheartedly that Lindy can help our team reach their goals and am excited to get to work with him.”

After leaving Buffalo, Ruff, 64, held head coaching positions with the Dallas Stars and the New Jersey Devils.

Ruff has the fifth-most coaching wins in NHL history and is the winningest coach in Sabres history by a wide margin, posting a record of 571-432-78-84 from 1998-2013. Scotty Bowman is second in franchise history with 210 wins. Granato had a 122-125-27 record with the Sabres, including his time as interim head coach in 2021.

Ruff won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach in the 2005-06 season, when the Sabres earned 110 points in the first year after the lockout. The Sabres won the Presidents Trophy the following year, posting the best record in the NHL. The team lost in the Eastern Conference Final both seasons.

Ruff also played for the Sabres from 1980-1989, scoring 102 goals across 10 seasons. He was a second-round draft pick in 1979.

The Sabres finished seven points out of playoff position this season, but have most of their key pieces under contract for next season.

Ruff will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday. You can watch live on WIVB.com.

This is a breaking story, check back for more

* * *

Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.

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How likely are the Buffalo Bills to trade up in the NFL Draft?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Bills own the 28th overall pick in Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft. How likely are they to trade up?

General manager Brandon Beane acknowledged during his pre-draft press conference that he wouldn’t hesitate to execute a trade if the price is right, as he has in previous drafts.


Bills would prefer to be on receiving end in NFL draft

“I probably deserve criticism for trading up sometimes, I get that,” Beane said, “but if there is a guy I like and I’m confident, I want to go to bed Thursday night [knowing] that I got him. If that happens again, I could do it. I can’t really tell you whether we go up, go back, or draft at 28. I have no idea how it’s going to fall.”

While Beane kept his cards close to the vest, our Buffalo Kickoff Live crew was happy to venture a guess on trading up when the subject was broached during last week’s Mock Draft Special.

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News 4’s Heather Prusak predicted favorable odds for the Bills to trade up: She gave it a 75% chance that the Bills trade up, maybe to 15th or 16th overall, looking to nab LSU receiver Brian Thomas Jr.

“I don’t think they have the capital to get all the way up to where they would have to to get one of the top three guys,” Prusak said, refencing WR prospects Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State), Malik Nabers (LSU) and Rome Odunze (Washington). “Brian Thomas Jr. is a little more attainable.”

WGR’s Sal Capaccio also thinks a trade up is likely: He sees “over a 50 percent chance” the Bills trade up.

“This is what Brandon Beane does,” he said, guessing the Bills would move into the top 20.

WROC Sports Director Thad Brown was emphatic about a trade up: “99.74%,” he said, though he isn’t thinking the move will be as high as others on the panel.

Brown targeted 23rd overall, thinking the Vikings will trade up from that spot to get a quarterback, and the team that trades into that slot will be happy to trade down again.

Matt Parrino from Syracuse.com didn’t offer a percentage, but is also eyeing the 15-20 range for Brian Thomas Jr. He added that he also thinks trading back could be in play for the Bills.

Fans eager for a home run swing to replace Stefon Diggs should keep their eyes on Odunze’s draft stock. If it appears he could slip to the back end of the top 10 or beyond, a trade up may be too enticing not to make the move.

Tune in Wednesday for more draft coverage during Buffalo Kickoff Live’s Draft Preview, airing at 7 p.m. on WIVB and WIVB.com.

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Bills would prefer to be on receiving end in draft




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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.

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