Buffalo Sabres: Which pending free agents earned the right to stick around for 2024-25?

The Buffalo Sabres have quite a few pending free agents for the 2024-25 season, so which members of the Blue and Gold have already done enough to stick around?

Jan 11, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres center Peyton Krebs (19) takes a shot on goal
Jan 11, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Peyton Krebs (19) takes a shot on goal / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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Henri Jokiharju
Buffalo Sabres v Chicago Blackhawks / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

7 - Henri Jokiharju

Henri Jokiharju has had his moments, but it’s tough to say he’s done enough to earn a qualifying offer. This is a situation where the Sabres will be better off letting the 24-year-old walk and continue his career elsewhere. 

8 - Jacob Bryson

Unless Jacob Bryson somehow sticks around the big club when Mattias Samuelsson and Erik Johnson are healthy enough to return and plays like an All-Star when given the chance, we all know the answer to this question. There is no way Bryson will be here when the puck drops in 2024-25, and he will likely remain a fringe NHL talent in his next stop.

9 - Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is the one player on this list next to Mittelstadt who the Buffalo Sabres cannot allow to walk. They will extend a qualifying offer, and Luukkonen will sign a rather lucrative bridge deal that is a far cry from his current AAV of $837,500.

10 - Erik Johnson

Erik Johnson is yet another player on this list who may not be here through the trade deadline, but if the Sabres don’t move him, he’s playing elsewhere in 2024-25. This will free up Ryan Johnson to be a full-time player in 2024-25, and will also allow the Sabres to bring in a younger, yet established talent. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)