3 reasons fans can be optimistic about the Sabres despite falling short of the playoffs

The Buffalo Sabres concluded their 2023-24 season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and it was a disappointing six months for a team with playoff aspirations.
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Buffalo Sabres left wing Zach Benson (9) celebrates after he
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Zach Benson (9) celebrates after he / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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Buffalo’s top players showed that 2022-23 was no fluke when healthy

Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner, and Alex Tuch didn’t produce the same way they did last season, and given their star-studded numbers in 2022-23, it probably wasn’t happening anyway. But we didn’t expect the significant drop-off, one in which hitting just 60 points was hard to come by. 

One reason the trio of Tage, Skinner, and Tuch didn’t hit the 79-plus-point mark in 2023-24 had to do with the unfortunate fact that they had a hard time staying on the ice alongside one another in the first half of the season. But in the second half, things calmed down, and the trio combined for 75 goals when the dust settled. 

It’s a smaller, more disappointing number, but when sharing the ice once the injury bug stopped biting, the trio helped this team play better hockey from January 2024 through April 2024. Sure, they had some bad weeks - few teams didn’t, especially in the East - but through April 15th, the team ended up 24-18-5, with 53 points. 

Their goals scored to goals allowed ratio sat at 135 to 112, and their power play was a much more adequate 20.5 percent. The above points total through the final 47 games had the Sabres on pace for between 92 and 93 points, in case you were curious, when adjusted for 82 contests, but the plus-23 goals scored to goals allowed jumps out more than anything. 


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)