Are the Buffalo Sabres the NHL’s best bubble team?

As the 2023 NHL All-Star Game looms, the Buffalo Sabres are one of many NHL teams finding themselves on the bubble for playoff contention. 

Arun Srinivasan of Yahoo! believes the Buffalo Sabres are the NHL’s best team hovering along the playoff bubble. And for many reasons, he’s right. Think about it like this: This year, and in recent years, the Sabres have:

  • Former first round picks like Owen Power, Rasmus Dahlin, Jack Quinn, Casey Mittelstadt, Zemgus Girgensons, and Dylan Cozens in the lineup. They aren’t all homeruns, but that’s over a quarter of the 23-man roster.
  • Added sound talent like Alex Tuch, Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, Peyton Krebs, and Henri Jokiharju, to name a few. Again, these aren’t all All-Stars, but they’re sound contributors.
  • Found an undisputed leader in Kyle Okposo.
  • Winning with four rookies in the lineup – Power, Quinn, J.J. Peterka, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
  • Are third in the NHL in scoring with 186 goals.
  • Are just one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card spot.

Buffalo Sabres may be the best bubble team in the NHL

Of course, there is some brewing concern over Tage Thompson’s upper body injury. And at the time of this writing, we don’t know if he will miss significant time or if he will return once the All-Star break concludes and the Sabres return to in-game action on February 11th. However, there may be some good news on that front:

If Tage can return quickly and continue his odyssey toward 100 points this season, then I will say Srinivasan has a point: The Buffalo Sabres do have the best bubble team in the league. But without Tage, it’s going to be tough for the Sabres to make a serious run down the stretch.

Sure, they have other good players, as I listed above. But most of us would agree that Tage is a cut above the rest of the team’s forwards and without him, the Sabres would need to step it up defensively to keep games close enough to win.

So far this season, they’ve been spotty in that avenue, inconsistent at best. If they can’t get it together defensively and if Tage misses significant time, it’s hard to envision the Sabres making the playoffs this season.

Article Source: Why the Sabres are the best of the NHL’s bubble teams by Arun Srinivasan

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