3 studs and 2 duds for the Buffalo Sabres in the first half of 2023-24

The Buffalo Sabres haven’t enjoyed anything even remotely close to a good season so far in 2023-24, but a few players have been productive.
Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins / Winslow Townson/GettyImages
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Mattias Samuelsson
Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

2 - Dud: Mattias Samuelsson, D

Wow, what a downturn Mattias Samuelsson has experienced this season following a year when it felt like his presence was fueling the Sabres to play their best hockey. Samuelsson was disruptive and he always seemed to be taking plays away in 2022-23, hence the reason Buffalo won so much when he was healthy. 

This season, it’s a different story, as while he’s been healthy for the most part and is well on pace to shatter his career-highs in points, blocks, and hits, Samuelsson has also been nowhere near as disruptive. He’s logged just seven takeaways, and he’s become a turnover machine when in possession of the puck. 

3 - Stud: Rasmus Dahlin, D

While Rasmus Dahlin wasn’t my first choice for the 2024 All-Star Game and he’s had some lean moments this season, it doesn’t take away the value he gives to the Buffalo Sabres. He has 32 points in 40 games this season, and he’s just three goals from tying his career-best of 15. His 9.9 shooting percentage is also on pace for a career-high, along with his 121 shots on goal.

But what impresses the most about Dahlin is the fact that he’s more physical now than he’s ever been, with 79 hits and 79 blocks in 40 contests. Like most of the team, Dahlin has experienced a drop-off in on-ice save percentage across the board, but the evolution of his multi-dimensional game continues to draw league-wide recognition, and we have seen why on several occasions.