Health will play a huge factor for the Buffalo Sabres success

One reason the Buffalo Sabres were so bad earlier this month is that the infamous injury bug once again hit, forcing them to recall several players. 

Kyle Okposo has been out for six games and Rasmus Asplund missed his first game with injury-related issues. Asplund joins a crew that earlier this month, included Mattias Samuelsson, Ilya Lyubushkin, Henri Jokiharju, Rasmus Dahlin, Jack Quinn, and Zemgus Girgensons.

The Sabres have shown time and again this season that when they have a full, or close to a full lineup, that they can beat anyone, with the St. Louis Blues serving as the Sabres latest victim. Once Okposo and Asplund are back in the lineup, they need to find a way to sustain that health to remain one of the league’s more competitive teams.

And note, I said competitive, not necessarily contending or winningest. Competitive means the Sabres will contend in games, pull off a few upsets, and perhaps put themselves in position to at least stick around in the wild card race. It doesn’t mean I think they are going to contend for a playoff spot.

Buffalo Sabres will hang with better opponents if healthy

The Sabres showed over these last two contests that they can hang with and beat experienced, playoff-caliber teams. And here’s another thing to consider: The combined record of the last four teams they beat is 40-30-4. 

Those teams were the Detroit Red Wings (third place in Atlantic), Pittsburgh Penguins (fifth in Metro), St. Louis Blues (fourth in Central), and Montreal Canadiens (sixth in Atlantic). Three of the four teams listed above either hold a playoff position, or they are tied for a wildcard spot.

And the Sabres weren’t completely healthy when they beat Detroit and Pittsburgh. They were nearly at 100%, however, against Montreal and St. Louis, where they won with a combined score of 13-4.

In short, a healthy Buffalo Sabres team equals a competitive team. And since this young group will get better as they gain more experience, a healthy team will eventually, probably in 2024, equate to a contending team.


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