3 – Tyson Kozak
Over the summer, I love getting bold with roster and lineup takes (just like almost everyone else), so in my 5.0 projection, Kozak snagged a spot on the fourth line as a dark horse, surprise addition. Logistically, Tyson Jost will open camp as the favorite to win that spot, while Kozak will face an uphill climb.
But the tenacious defensive forward will eventually sneak onto the roster thanks to the fact Victor Olofsson is likely in his final season with the club, along with Kyle Okposo, and Zemgus Girgensons. There is also a good chance Jost doesn’t return for 2024-25, so Kozak has some very, very good odds next season if he continues improving his game.
Like Kulich, if he wants the Buffalo Sabres coaching staff and front office to at least give him an extended look in camp and in the preseason, then this weekend is the opportune time to enjoy a couple of stellar performances. He was one of the best in the 2022 Challenge, so let’s hope for a repeat outing in 2023, but with even more of a physical edge.