Although he only played in 55 games last season, Mattias Samuelsson edged out Dahlin with 107 hits to 105 hits. If you take 107 and divide it by 55, then multiply that number by 82, you would have gotten 159.52. But, Samuelsson won’t lead the team in the category this year even if he’s healthy from October until April. Instead, the honor will go to newcomer Connor Clifton, who should sail north of 200.
Alex Tuch logged 64 takeaways last season, and I can see that number reaching 70 in 2023-24 as he’s still growing more productive each year. Tuch has solidified himself as the Buffalo Sabres top two-way forward, so expect his defense to match an already dynamic offensive approach.
Tuch could see a challenge, however, from Casey Mittelstadt if the latter continues his surge that started last December. Dylan Cozens could also be a challenger to take the crown in this category as his stock also continues to trek north.