We saw a major shake-up with the powerplay units in practice Friday morning. Rasmus Dahlin, who is primarily the quarterback of the first unit, swapped spots with fellow former first-overall pick Owen Power. The move comes at a time the Sabres are desperately looking for a spark, after going 0-6 in Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.
When asked about the powerplay after practice, head coach Don Granato simply said “it needs work”.
Power joins the usual top crew of Alex Tuch, Jeff Skinner, Casey Mittelstadt, and Tage Thompson on a unit that has averaged about 60% of the Sabres powerplay minutes this season. Dahlin joins Dylan Cozens, Zach Benson, JJ Peterka and Jack Quinn.
For Dahlin, this does not seem to be a demotion, rather, a chance to spark some creativity and render different looks. Granato referred to the second unit as “our younger group” and stated the move was to “change the mindset”. He went on to praise the effort and talent that Quinn has brought to the team since his return, and noted that Dahlin was their most competitive player. It sounds like Granato is looking to use the second group more in hopes there’s a good marriage between those two players.
The Sabres are 14 for 105 on the powerplay this season. That 13.33% is tied for sixth-worst in the NHL.
Other Practice Notes:
- Tage Thompson returned to practice in his normal center spot between Skinner and Tuch. He is expected to play tomorrow.
- Zemgus Girgensons rotated on the left wing with Eric Robinson alongside Peyton Krebs and Kyle Okposo. Pending a roster move, he looks to be ready to return to play.
- Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen manned the starter’s net today with Devon Levi and Eric Comrie on the other end. Luukkonen is the likely starter tomorrow versus Columbus, leaving Levi probable for Sunday in Ottawa.
- We still await word on the status of Tyson Jost, who was placed on waivers yesterday. Should he clear, he is expected to be sent down to Rochester to allow the team to activate Girgensons.