While the Buffalo Sabres are still struggling heading into the New Year, you won’t see us here at Sabre Noise get any less bold with each new week - even if we have been critical of the team at times. Anyway, despite the struggles, it also doesn’t mean this team lacks playmakers, something they proved to us last season.
So perhaps the bold predictions listed below will once and for all, at least as far as the 2023-24 season goes, help the Sabres bust out of this half-season slump. Below, you will find three bold predictions regarding three players - a playmaker, a brewing playmaker, and a rookie for Week 13.
3 bold predictions for the Buffalo Sabres in Week 13
1 - Casey Mittelstadt scores four points in a pair of games
Okay, it was one thing to see Casey Mittelstadt enjoy a stellar half-season last year, but as the Sabres collectively stagnate, few of us would have thought the 25-year-old would be the one pacing the team in scoring, but that’s the case in 2024. And this week, Mittelstadt, who has 31 points and a plus-6 rating so far, records a goal and three assists, en route to becoming the team MVP in early January.
What’s more amazing is the fact Mittelstadt isn’t scoring the bulk of his points on assists so far in 2023-24, as he has also logged double-digit goals on the year. His projected goal this week will put him at 11 on the season should it transform into a reality, and will it continue to keep him on pace to shatter his career-high of 15.
2 - Jack Quinn foreshadows a massive leap in 2024
Maybe this isn’t the boldest prediction, as Jack Quinn already snagged a trio of goals in six games this year and has played well since his return. But as he continually re-acclimates himself to the grind that is the NHL, his production will continue to evolve, and that will be the case this week against Montreal and Pittsburgh.
Quinn will find the net two more times and also log his first helper of the year, giving him six points in his first eight games in a blue and gold uniform this year. He will climb another rung, much like teammate JJ Peterka has done, and the Kid Line as a whole will benefit from Quinn’s performance.
3 - Sabres finally figure out Zach Benson likes to invade the crease
Yeah, this one is important, because as we’ve found out, Zach Benson is basically the only player on the team who does this consistently. Okay, that’s not entirely the case, as big bodies like Jordan Greenway, Alex Tuch, and Zemgus Girgensons are also known to play this role, but no one plays it better than Benson.
While he has just 14 points and four goals in 28 games this season, that middle number (the four goals) will trend north in the pair of games this week when the Buffalo Sabres find the rookie multiple times, and he will add two goals in the process. And hey, maybe the Blue and Gold will finally find consistency and keep this up in the weeks to follow - that will play into Benson’s hands.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)