- Rasmus Dahlin – Connor Clifton
- Owen Power – Mattias Samuelsson
- Erik Johnson – Henri Jokiharju
- Riley Stillman
Connor Clifton noticeably struggled in his Buffalo Sabres debut, but I’m not too worried about it. It was his first game in a blue and gold uniform, and it’s nothing more than an adjustment period at this point. Dahlin will pair with him and the duo will be fine.
I’ve seen a lot of Power-Jokiharju pairings, but I’m not buying it. Jokiharju has looked good in the preseason, but he was awful when lining up next to Power last season. Further, Mattias Samuelsson provides a better complement for the 20-year-old, so he gets the nod.
Erik Johnson will instead pair with the two-way Jokiharju on the bottom pairing, giving the Sabres three levels of complementary blueliners. Riley Stillman factors in as the extra, and he will be a physical presence when Johnson inevitably sits out a few games, or if the Blue and Gold want a hard-nosed pairing, in which he will replace Jokiharju.