Jiri Kulich deserves another chance with the Buffalo Sabres with Skinner out

The Buffalo Sabres need to find a way to score consistently with their top scorer out in Jeff Skinner, both at 5-on-5 and on the power play.
Sep 26, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres center Jiri Kulich (20) takes a shot on goal
Sep 26, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jiri Kulich (20) takes a shot on goal / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Jiri Kulich saw just one game of action in the NHL before the Buffalo Sabres scratched, and ultimately sent him back to the Rochester Americans. Not long after, Kulich went to the IIHF World Juniors, where he played for Team Czechia and put up yet another dominating performance

Kulich was also recently named to the 2024 All-Star roster for the North Division alongside Isak Rosen, and he would likely be the team’s points leader had he not played in the World Juniors, as he’s still pacing the Amerks with 0.96 points per game among players who have started at least 15 contests. 

With all of this in mind, it’s clear that Kulich deserves another chance with the Sabres, as his ability to score on the power play should make this an easy decision for general manager Kevyn Adams. Sure, the Sabres have a full lineup of forwards with Kyle Okposo having returned plus the recent acquisition of Eric Robinson, but Kulich has more upside and scoring potential than the aforementioned lower-liners.

Buffalo Sabres must call up Jiri Kulich if Skinner misses extended time

While the Sabres have gotten better in the scoring department recently, it’s still not where it needs to be if they want to seriously make a run at the playoffs. Kulich, with 16 goals this season (six on the power play), has proven he can find twine often. This isn’t to say Kulich should get top-six minutes, but adding him to the still-stagnant power play isn’t hurting anything here, nor would putting a potential scoring threat on the lower lines. 

We will know more about Jeff Skinner shortly, but if this is the type of injury that will keep him out beyond next week, then the Buffalo Sabres must be sensible about adequately replacing him. Guys like Okposo, Robinson, and Victor Olofsson aren’t enough because they don’t score often, but Kulich has that scoring potential. 


(Statistics provided by theAHL.com)