BUFFALO Custom Colorado Avalanche Jerseys , N.Y. (AP) center Casey Mittelstadt, is leaving Minnesota following his freshman season after agreeing to a three-year, entry-level contract with Buffalo on Monday.Mittelstadt is scheduled to join the Sabres on Tuesday, and general manger Jason Botterill said he expects the player to make his NHL debut Thursday, when Buffalo hosts the Detroit Red Wings.With Buffalo out of playoff contention, Botterill also told reporters before Buffalo’s game at Toronto on Monday that he hoped Mittlestadt would consider representing the United States at the world hockey championships in Denmark in May.The agreement with the Sabres was reached a little over a week after Minnesota’s season ended by failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers are also undergoing a change after coach Don Lucia announced he is stepping down following 19 seasons.The 19-year-old Mittelstadt was selected by the Sabres with the No. 8 pick in the 2017 draft.Mittelstadt had 11 goals and 19 assists in 34 games and was named to the Big Ten all-freshmen team this year.He has already made a splash in Buffalo after creating several highlight-reel plays in representing the bronze-medal-winning United States team at the World Junior hockey championship, which was held in the city three months ago.From Eden Prairie www.officialbluejackets.com , Minnesota, Mittelstadt was named the 10-nation tournament’s MVP after finishing tied for first in scoring with 11 points (four goals, seven assists).Botterill was impressed by how Mittelstadt excelled at the world juniors.”With it being here in Buffalo, there was that added pressure,” Botterill told The Associated Press in January. ”And I think you saw a player who instead of succumbing to the pressure, actually thriving in that type of environment.”Mittelstadt’s most memorable goal came in a in a 3-2 preliminary-round loss to Slovakia.With the U.S. trailing 2-1, Mittelstadt stripped the puck from Marian Studenic at the Slovakia blue line and circled back into the zone. Mittelstadt kicked the puck between his legs to avoid a check by defender Michal Ivan and didn’t break stride in cutting across the top of the crease and avoiding goalie Roman Durny. He swept a shot into the open left side with 3:11 remaining.Mittelstadt joins a Sabres team that has already extended its franchise-worst playoff drought to seven years, and in jeopardy of finishing last in the overall standings for the third time in five seasons.The Sabres have six games left after playing Toronto Columbus Blue Jackets T-Shirts Authentic , and they are not allowed to demote Mittelstadt to the minors this spring.Mittelstadt will use up the first year of his contract this season. However, he would not be eligible to be exposed for selection in an expansion draft in 2020, should the NHL approve Seattle’s bid to join the league for the 2020-21 season.Mittelstadt’s addition comes a day after defenseman Will Borgen elected to skip his senior season at St. Cloud State to sign a three-year contract with the Sabres.— Justin Williams helped the Los Angeles Kings win their only two Stanley Cup titles in franchise history. He’s spent the past three seasons reminding the organization what a good player they had.Williams will get his latest chance to torment his former team when the Carolina Hurricanes (12-9-4) visit the Kings (9-16-1) at Staples Center on Sunday night.Williams has six points (one goal, five assists) in six games against the Kings since he left them following the 2014-15 season. The Washington Capitals and Hurricanes are a combined 3-1-2 in those games against the Kings.Article continues below ...Carolina traded Williams to the Kings late in the 2008-09 season in what turned out to be one of the best deals in the 11-year tenure of general manager Dean Lombardi.Williams soon became one of their most valuable and popular players, leading them to Cups titles in 2012 and 2014, and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in the second championship run.Many of his teammates on those championship teams still play in Los Angeles.“You always remember the people you win with, always, and you remember each other as champions Columbus Blue Jackets Hoodies Authentic ,” Williams told the Washington Post prior to his first return to Staples Center in February 2016. “Obviously I have a lot of feelings — good feelings — towards my time there, but time marches on, and in this day and age, you’re very rarely with one team for your whole career. I’ve moved on, and they have too.”Just as he arrived in Los Angeles at the perfect time, Williams seemed to have departed at the right period, signing with the Capitals in hopes of winning another championship. He just missed that goal when he signed with Carolina in the summer of 2017 and the Capitals went on to win the Stanley Cup last season.The Kings, meanwhile Columbus Blue Jackets Hats Authentic , are 1-8 in playoff games since their last Stanley Cup championship. They are sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with the fewest points in the NHL.The Kings fired coach John Stevens following a 4-8-1 start, but are 5-8-0 under Willie Desjardins. They appeared to be gaining momentum after back-to-back wins against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday and the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, but lost on back-to-back nights to the Oilers on Thursday and the Calgary Flames on Friday.“They’re really disappointed after a loss and they’re on edge, not happy about it at all, and that’s the way they should be,” Desjardins said.One area that needs improvement for Los Angeles is its penalty kill. The unit is 19-for-32 over the past 10 games, dropping to 29th in the league at 72.7 percent. Los Angeles had the No. 1 penalty kill unit in the NHL last season (85.0).Carolina is 23rd in the league in power-play efficiency at 16.5 percent.The Hurricanes are 6-2-2 in their past 10 games and have held six of their past eight opponents to two goals or fewer. The Kings are last in the NHL at 2.12 goals a game.