All preseason long, we saw the Buffalo Sabres experiment with different lines and pairings, but that changed during practice on Monday.
The Buffalo Sabres lines and pairings were a topic of concern throughout the last two preseason games. We saw intense lack of chemistry with just about everyone on the ice, including one pairing that played alongside one another for most of training camp in Rasmus Dahlin and Connor Clifton.
To put it bluntly, Clifton often looked lost and Dahlin didn’t fare much better, leading to a pair of abysmal “dress rehearsal” games. But preseason is the time of year to experiment, and that was about all the Sabres were (smartly) doing, as their lines and pairings looked rather familiar yesterday.
As you can see from the Sabres forwards, there is little deviation from 2022-23, except for Victor Olofsson factoring into Jack Quinn’s spot on the second line, and Zach Benson sliding into where Olofsson typically played. Jordan Greenway is entering his first full season with the team, and he’s sidling into a spot Tyson Jost often held down in 2022-23, while Jost drops down to be an extra.
Buffalo Sabres lines and pairings look very familiar in 2023-24
You can also say the same for the Sabres defensive pairings, with the familiar duo of Rasmus Dahlin and Mattias Samuelsson leading the group. Owen Power and Henri Jokiharju are familiar with playing alongside one another, and they took the second pairing in yesterday’s practice while newcomers Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton made up the third, with Jacob Bryson rotating.
This is the lineup you won’t just likely see vs. the New York Rangers, but if the Buffalo Sabres remain healthy, expect the lines and pairings you see above to serve as the baseline for the Blue and Gold until Jack Quinn returns later in the season.
Further, I anticipate Benson being here past nine games if he proves to be a solid piece to the puzzle. Dahlin and Samuelsson will only get better, as will Owen Power, and that’s one encouraging thought if you follow the Sabres. The familiarity of the lines and pairings from what was a near-playoff team, and a young team at that, should be encouraging for Blue and Gold fans everywhere.