Casey Mittelstadt made his mark with the Buffalo Sabres last season. Can he have a repeat year in 2023-24 and stay with the team long-term?
It’s not often that you see a player more than double their career-high points total in their fifth full season, but that’s exactly what Buffalo Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt did in 2022-23. After struggling for the season’s first two months, Mittelstadt went on a tirade and finished the year with 59 points, 15 goals, and 44 assists.
The oft-injured Mittelstadt was ironically the only Sabre to play in all 82 games last season, showing us that he might have even improved his durability. Given his poor performances over the first four years of his career, we still need to be cautious about what Mittelstadt will bring to the table in 2023-24, but if he picks up where he left off, then the Sabres will be in a remarkable position in the middle six, even early on.
Casey Mittelstadt will bring valuable insurance to the Buffalo Sabres
As you now know, Jack Quinn will miss another three to five months as he rehabs from an Achilles injury, meaning someone must fill the void at wing on the second line. The versatile Mittelstadt should be the front runner, as I have noted a few times in the past.
One of Mittelstadt’s biggest accolades from 2022-23 was the fact he stepped in for Tage Thompson when the latter went down late in the season. And it wasn’t one of those backup plans where the player “filled in admirably,” either. Instead, Mittelstadt looked like he’d been playing on the same line as Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch all year.
Therefore, if he gets the nod to play on the second line early, expect similar chemistry between him and presumably Dylan Cozens and J.J. Peterka. If someone else like Victor Olofsson takes over the spot, then Mittelstadt will revert to the third line and should be a dynamic puzzle piece alongside perhaps Jordan Greenway and even an incoming prospect like Lukas Rousek.
While he can fall back into the doldrums that we have seen him fall into across most of his career, we also know Mittelstadt has built a rapport with his Buffalo Sabres teammates regardless of which line he was playing. Therefore, I’m projecting him to pick up where he left off in 2022-23 and perhaps even improve his overall output this season.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)