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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Dylan Cozens
Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

4 - Dud: Dylan Cozens, C

It was hard to put Dylan Cozens into the “dud” category, because watching him this season, you can argue that part of his struggles comes from sheer bad luck. But after 39 games in 2023-24, Cozens has a measly 20 points, and there’s no working around that in Year 1 of that lucrative contract of his. 

He’s still a moderately physical player with 16 blocks and 33 hits, but his 22 giveaways have already superseded last season’s number, in which he had 20. Cozens also logged 36 takeaways last season, and this year, he has just 11. So, it hasn’t just been awful luck regarding Cozens - he’s regressed horribly in many areas; most notably, his 5.9 shooting percentage. 

5 - Stud: Jeff Skinner, W

The Sabres could be the worst team in hockey, and Jeff Skinner would still be in this position so long as Ralph Krueger isn’t coaching the group. In 38 games this year, Skinner has 33 points, 17 goals, and 16 assists, making him the Blue and Gold’s most productive forward besides Casey Mittelstadt. 

While Skinner, like all of the Buffalo Sabres players, will likely see a regression in points when the season concludes in April, he should at least log the second most productive season of his career. And while he will eventually become the Sabres oldest skater next season barring any new signee, Skinner has so far looked ageless.

Update: There is a chance Skinner could be out for an extended time after sustaining an injury last night, but once he returns, expect the same player we have grown accustomed to.

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)