Sabres news: Sabres extend five qualifying offers to RFAs

Apr 6, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (26) and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju (10) celebrate DahlinÕs goal during the second period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (26) and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju (10) celebrate DahlinÕs goal during the second period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Buffalo Sabres announced that five of their restricted free agents had received qualifying offers from the team. The five players that received offers were Casey Mittelstadt, Rasmus Asplund, Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju, and Casey Fitzgerald. Two eligible players did not receive a qualifying offer, and those players were forward Dawson DiPietro and goalie Stefanos Lekkas.

We saw an uptick in usage and production for some of the younger players in Buffalo once Don Granato took over as the head coach of the Sabres partway through last season. Dahlin and Jokiharju were regularly paired up as the number one defensive pairing under Granato.

Over the past 22 games of the season, we saw Mittelstadt play the best hockey of his career. He tallied 17 points on nine goals and eight assists in those games and alternated the top-line center duties with Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens. Asplund was regularly positioned as a wing on the same line as Mittelstadt and scored five goals and four assists after April 1st.

Casey Fitzgerald played 22 games and had a career-high 11 points for the Rochester Americans this season. With the youth movement that is taking place in Buffalo, we will likely see Fitzgerald get playing time for the Sabres next season.

Dawson DiPietro missed all of last season due to injury. He had signed with Buffalo as a free agent but never played last year. Lekkas appeared in seven games for the Americans last season. Neither of these players received a qualifying offer from Buffalo and are now set to become free agents and can sign with different teams.

Eichel’s camp expect him to be out of Buffalo soon. dark. Next

Unrestricted free agency begins Wednesday at noon. The Sabres are currently trying to secure Linus Ullmark and make sure he does not hit free agency. He will likely get plenty of interest from other teams if the Sabres do not bring him back.