3 most surprising Sabres players in 2023-24

The Buffalo Sabres may have surprised its fans with a disappointing season, but a few Sabres players surprised us for the better.
Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs
Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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The Buffalo Sabres extended a pair of streaks in 2023-24 - the first one being the obvious and more infamous of the two. They extended their playoff drought into its teenage years, breaking their own record once again. But if it makes fans feel any better, they won their home finale yet again, so it’s not all bad, right?

Okay, bad joke. There isn’t a Sabres fan out there who wouldn’t trade in a playoff berth if it meant losing in a home finale. At this point, we would all be okay with making the playoffs and “ceding” our home finale to the Toronto Maple Leafs fans who love taking over KeyBank Center and losing 10-3 if it meant making the playoffs. 

Considering the expectations many fans had for this team, missing the postseason for a 13th straight year was one of the most unpleasant surprises. There were a few others, like the fact nobody on this team would score 70 points and even the tough fact that three-game winning streaks were scarce. 

The Sabres had plenty of unfortunate surprises but also a few fortunate ones

We don’t need to lament that every surprise in the City of Good Neighbors was bad, especially when you look at a few players. No, it hasn’t been a smooth year for Tage Thompson, despite his late-season resurgence, Alex Tuch, or Jeff Skinner, all three of whom should have been forces following their epic 2022-23 campaigns. 

But you can’t say the same about three young players who should, if they stay healthy, parlay their success this season into becoming some of the better players at their respective positions in 2024-25 and beyond. One came into his own, while another made a bigger leap than any of us would have expected, and the third guy on this list wasn’t even supposed to be on the team.