4 – Kyle Okposo
While Kyle Okposo was clearly aging, the Buffalo Sabres re-signed the longtime winger around for more than just his leadership abilities. While it’s true Okposo isn’t the player he was, he still knew how to disrupt plays and separate opponents from the puck, something he will continue this season.
Okposo finished the year with 78 hits, and Buffalo had an on-ice save percentage of 90.9 and 91.9 at even strength and 5-on-5, respectively, with him on the ice. We likely won’t see Okposo playing as often this season if the Sabres have a 13th or 14th forward capable of producing serviceable play with fourth line minutes, but when he’s on the ice, he will remain an effective player.
3 – Zemgus Girgensons
Fun fact: Zemgus Girgensons’ 49 blocks were his most since 2014-15, the year he represented the Buffalo Sabres in the All-Star Game. He also had 96 hits, making him the most physical forward on the 2022-23 Buffalo Sabres in the category. And he was just four away from achieving triple digits for the eighth time in his career.
What’s more, is that opponents rarely scored with Girgensons on the ice, as the team logged an on-ice save percentage of 92% at even strength and 92.1% at 5-on-5. Girgensons was also trusted on the penalty kill, logging nearly 117 minutes with the unit last year.