Last season, the Buffalo Sabres had 29 players log at least one point – goaltenders included. This year, that number bumps up to 34.
When at least 34 different players take the ice in a single season, it’s often a bad thing because it implies a team either got hit with injuries or is well out of the playoff race. But that won’t be the case with the 2023-24 Buffalo Sabres, as they will simply give a few prospects a chance to play toward the end of the season – I’ll explain why later.
We will see three goaltenders in the net, with Devon Levi comprising the 1A, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen the 1B, and most likely Eric Comrie as the spot starter. Note that Comrie will be in the AHL unless Buffalo keeps three goaltenders for any reason, and he will get nominal recalls. If Comrie doesn’t pass through waivers, the honor falls to Dustin Tokarski.
Further, there is Jack Quinn’s injury and the potential “Shane Wright Route” for Matt Savoie. So when you think about it, there is the 23-man roster, plus Jack Quinn, plus (presumably) Eric Comrie, so we’re already at 25 players. Add Savoie to that roster long enough to warrant a “conditioning” assignment in the AHl, and you’re already up to 26.
34 different Buffalo Sabres players score at least one point in 2023-24
Injuries unfortunately happen throughout the 82-game season, and it only takes two players to miss just a little bit of time to warrant some recalls. But as mentioned, this bold predictions piece does not mean the Sabres are getting hit hard with injuries, so this is just part of, and not the entire reasoning, for 34 players suiting up and scoring.
General manager Kevyn Adams likely buys at the trade deadline just as he did last season, so you can add another player to the main roster, perhaps two. And with the Buffalo Sabres being a hot playoff contender not just among local sports fans but even more so with the NHL universe, as implied in a recent piece, a few prospects could taste NHL action as the season winds down if the Sabres have a spot locked up and cannot move any higher or lower in the closing contests.
The last part puts the Blue and Gold at the 34-man mark, as those prospects will score their first NHL points. And yep, even the goaltenders will pitch in on at least one assist, putting the team right at the 34 player mark.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)