Buffalo Sabres: Kevyn Adams did way more in the past year than you think

Given the Buffalo Sabres outburst in scoring over the past two games with their familiar top-six, it’s becoming clear that Kevyn Adams built a solid top-nine.

Dec 23, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Jack Quinn (22) takes a shot
Dec 23, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Jack Quinn (22) takes a shot / Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
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For some strange reason, general manager Kevyn Adams has been singled out as a “do nothing” general manager. Across forums, threads, and social channels, you’ll see plenty of examples of fans claiming Adams as “doing nothing” or “not doing enough” in turning the Buffalo Sabres into undisputed contenders this season. 

But when you look at the lineup, it’s clear the opposite is true. While Adams didn’t go out of his way to make a big trade or a huge signing to bring in a game-changer, he already had a top-six that, when healthy, picked up where it left off as one of the league’s most efficient. But let’s not stop with the top-six, as Adams was also responsible for building a sound top-nine. 

In March, the Sabres added Jordan Greenway to the lineup, and while he didn’t enjoy a good outing during his first dozen-and-a-half games in Buffalo, he has become a productive player at 5-on-5 and on special teams. This past June, Zach Benson arrived via the 2023 NHL Draft, and he continues to defy expectations. 

Recent additions gave the Buffalo Sabres a solid top-nine

The 18-year-old Benson is currently one of the better two-way forwards on the team and he loves making his known near the blue paint. He also has 13 points in 25 games, with four goals, and nine assists. 

Greenway has 10 points in 23 contests, and though he’s been banged up at times, he still isn’t afraid to get physical on the forecheck, lay a big hit, and sacrifice the body for a block. It’s clear the Sabres are much better offensively in the lower lines with Greenway’s and Benson’s presence, but let’s also not forget about Casey Mittelstadt. 

Mittelstadt is right there with Rasmus Dahlin for the team lead in points with 29, with nine goals, and 20 assists. One of the Buffalo Sabres best passers, Mittelstadt is in first place on the team in assists, and he continues to get better with age. 

While you can claim Adams is a “do nothing” general manager and potentially a reason for the Sabres struggles, the real reason, as we are finding out, lies in the fact that they tried to reinvent their game in the worst way possible. Adams already had a solid top-six, and he started adding to that before the trade deadline last season and in the draft to forge a potentially formidable top-nine. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)