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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Time for Peyton Krebs to find the net more often

Few young Sabres skaters have established themselves as effective defensive forwards more than Peyton Krebs has over the past two seasons. He’s been a sensational fourth-liner regardless of who his linemates are, and it’s one reason opponents have such a tough time playing against him when they take the puck into the offensive zone. 

He has only 11 takeaways and 21 blocked shots, so Krebs is that player who will skate through an opponent to keep pucks from reaching the net. He’s been solid at making plays happen offensively, logging a 53.6 Corsi For Percentage at 5-on-5, even with over 50 percent of all of his starts occurring in the defensive zone, but it hasn’t translated into many goals.

Krebs has just 12 points, finding the net just three times in 61 contests. As a former first-round pick who the Sabres acquired in the Jack Eichel trade, we definitely want to see more productivity from Krebs in the offensive zone, especially now that he is in his third season with the team. 

If there is any good news, it’s that Mittelstadt also had a tough time finding his game in the offensive zone during those first few seasons in Buffalo, and he had since broken out and became one of the team’s best scorers. Maybe now that Mittelstadt’s in the Western Conference, Krebs will start picking up where he left off.