5 Buffalo Sabres players who won’t be back next season

The Buffalo Sabres should go through a bit of retooling this offseason to finally end their drought and make the playoffs in 2024-25.

Buffalo Sabres v Arizona Coyotes
Buffalo Sabres v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages
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Jacob Bryson isn’t signing an offer sheet this summer

Okay, let’s give Jacob Bryson credit: He’s played much better this season following what was an awful 2022-23 campaign. Time in Rochester undoubtedly helped, and he probably salvaged his future in the NHL, given his recent performances in Buffalo. 

But the Sabres also have to be honest with themselves and ask the following question: “Where would they put him?” Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Mattias Samuelsson, Bowen Byram, Ryan Johnson, and Connor Clifton are the top-six heading into 2024-25, and while the Sabres need a seventh blueliner, Bryson hasn’t shown the consistency necessary to make us believe he's the guy. 

Henri Jokiharju and Kale Clague are also pending restricted free agents, but Clague could return simply because he would be a clear-cut AHLer next year should the Sabres bring him back. Jokiharju has proven to be the more reliable player for a while, and he’s given the Sabres career-highs in plus-minus, hits, blocks, and don’t be surprised if he also snags a career-best in takeaways. 

Jokiharju has registered short-handed minutes, a Corsi For of nearly 50 percent, plus a 92.3 on-ice save percentage. The latter isn’t as good as what we saw from Bryson, but Jokiharju has also appeared in nearly three times more contests. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)