Buffalo Sabres: Making the case for a Samuelsson-Power pairing

Oct 15, 2022; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Owen Power (25) watches as Florida Panthers left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) dives to clear the puck from Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson (23) during the third period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2022; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Owen Power (25) watches as Florida Panthers left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) dives to clear the puck from Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson (23) during the third period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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Buffalo Sabres
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – APRIL 11: Mattias Samuelsson #23 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates his third period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 11, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Samuelsson would put Power in the best position to succeed

We also know that Samuelsson helps the Buffalo Sabres win games more than arguably anyone else on the team. He’s the type of player whose “boring” approach to the game makes the Buffalo Sabres a better overall unit, and that will benefit the sophomore in Owen Power better than anyone else in the rotation.

It would be one thing if Dahlin were still growing into his game, as opposed to having already entered his prime. If that were the case, then I would be pulling for Samuelsson to keep lining up alongside Dahlin, and for Clifton and Power to form chemistry on the second pairing.

But with Johnson and Clifton rotating, with Clifton seeing more ice time as the season progresses while Johnson takes more of a back seat, Dahlin still has that stay-at-home presence on the first pairing. This will allow him to create and take scoring opportunities with the puck. Clifton can do the same for Power, as Strozyk pointed out.

But someone with more experience in Don Granato’s system at the NHL level and a proven track record of winning that Samuelsson already has despite just 109 career games gives Power the best chance to shine, at least in theory.