3 Sabres players who must step up following Casey Mittelstadt trade

The Buffalo Sabres traded Casey Mittelstadt on Wednesday, and they got an intriguing defenseman. But that also means someone must fill the void Mittelstadt left.
Feb 27, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Zach Benson (9) moves the puck against
Feb 27, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Zach Benson (9) moves the puck against / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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The Buffalo Sabres made headlines Wednesday when they traded Casey Mittelstadt to the Colorado Avalanche two days before the NHL trade deadline. This means Buffalo has lost its best player in the offensive zone this season, but with his pending RFA status that includes arbitration and the fact he’s only enjoyed a stellar season-and-a-half throughout his career, it’s also easy to see why Adams moved him near the deadline. 

Buffalo also landed an intriguing defenseman who can help them win games immediately, so this wasn’t a traditional “sale” around the deadline to the same extent that other teams not looking to contend would make. However, thanks to Mittelstadt’s effective play over the last year-and-a-half, it opens a void among the forwards as someone must step up and play better hockey when the Blue and Gold find themselves in the offensive zone. 

Plenty of Sabres forwards must step up now that Mittelstadt is gone

Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner, and Alex Tuch are the obvious answers here, and none of them are even remotely on pace to match their productivity from last season. Skinner has just 40 points in 55 games, while Tuch has 40 in 56, and Tage is struggling with 35 in 53. 

But, let’s be fair, as each of the Sabres top scorers from a year ago have all found themselves sidelined at least once with injuries this season. This hampered their chemistry in 2023-24, and such luck always sets the stage for a harsh campaign. 

However, there are three other forwards who could have bright futures as prolific scorers on this team if they step up and improve their respective games in the offensive zone. One of the three players listed is already locked into a long-term extension, so ideally, they will start playing the way they did last season. The other two on this list have contributed well defensively, but they have too much potential to allow their offense to go to waste.