In 2021, the Buffalo Sabres traded for then-prospect Peyton Krebs, who has since become one of the better players in the Blue and Gold’s lineup.
This past season, Buffalo Sabres center Peyton Krebs appeared in 74 games and put up nine goals, 17 assists, and 26 points. But his defensive play could earn him a long-term spot with the Blue and Gold. During his first full season as a Sabre, Krebs also logged 93 hits, which made him the most physical forward on the team next to Zemgus Girgensons, who recorded 96.
However, Girgensons finished the year with 1.2 hits per contest, fewer than the 1.25 from Krebs, so you can argue that the kid was a shade more aggressive in that category than the seasoned veteran. And given his young age, we should see Krebs once again show off his edge, and perhaps even hit triple-digits in the category as the Sabres look to become more of a bruising hockey team in 2023-24.
Peyton Krebs will evolve into a sound defensive forward for the Buffalo Sabres
Defensively, the Sabres were a better team with Krebs in the lineup, as they finished the year with a 90.3% and 90.6% on-ice save percentage at even strength and 5-on-5, respectively. The Sabres also generated more shots offensively with Krebs in the lineup last season than they did in 2021-22, with a Corsi For% of 52.1% and a Fenwick For% of 51.1% at even strength, up from 46.4% and 44.0%, respectively, in the same categories.
The same trends followed in both instances at 5-on-5, further indicating that Buffalo also benefited offensively when he was on the ice. But we can take that as a bonus, as Krebs’ sound defensive play, along with those of his primary linemates in Girgensons and Kyle Okposo made this possible.
Krebs also saw 51 minutes on the penalty kill last season, and he became a sound puzzle piece in the unit. This is something that you should also see more of this season, along with a more physical player whose overall defensive play should help set up even more scoring opportunities for 2023-24.
It’s also important to remember that Krebs will be a restricted free agent following the season. So you should expect elevated play all year round as he looks to prove he should remain in the Queen City. At the moment, I would be one to say he has the inside track of sticking around.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)