Will the changes on the Buffalo Sabres power play pay off?

The Buffalo Sabres power play has struggled all season, and it looks like they will finally try to address the issue starting in tonight’s game vs. Columbus.

Buffalo Sabres v Arizona Coyotes
Buffalo Sabres v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages
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The Buffalo Sabres power play has been miserable in 2023-24, converting just 14 of their 105 opportunities, which equals a conversion rate of just 13.33 percent. That’s nearly seven percent under the league average of 20.27 percent, so understandably, head coach Don Granato wanted something different. 

They further hit rock bottom on Wednesday night, finishing 0 for 6 in a 4-1 loss vs. the Boston Bruins. With six chances on the power play, just a pair of conversions or even one would have made the game a little more interesting as opposed to the migraine-inducer it was.

Paul Hamilton of Audacy outlined the lineup changes, which now look like this:

"“In Friday’s practice, Don Granato made a major change swapping the quarterbacks of the two units. Owen Power is now with Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch, Jeff Skinner and Casey Mittelstadt while Rasmus Dahlin will run the power play with Dylan Cozens, Jack Quinn, JJ Peterka and Zach Benson.”"

Paul Hamilton

Source: The Sabres make a couple of big changes to the power play groups

Buffalo Sabres hope changes to man advantage will pay off

It’s intriguing to see the Sabres rolling with Dahlin to quarterback the Kid Line and Zach Benson. We know how effective Cozens, Quinn, and Peterka can be, and have been at times since Jack Quinn returned, so to put the best power play quarterback with a line that has outstanding chemistry but lesser experience is the way to go here. 

Further, you have Power with the most experienced forwards, and this will further strike much-needed balance among the power play. You also have the pass-first Power quarterbacking a line that, sans Mittelstadt, loves to shoot, so perhaps more one-timers will be in order.

Meanwhile, Dahlin is one player who you never quite know what he will do. He will also look to pass the puck around, but if he has an open look, he won’t hesitate to shoot, and that will create ample opportunities in front of the net for guys like Cozens and Benson. Therefore, look for a more aggressive power play starting tonight, and with that aggression, it should pay off nicely. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)