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Sabres Grades: A Complete Team Effort

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Buffalo Sabres grades Owen Power

Saturday’s victory over the San Jose Sharks was truly a complete team effort by the Buffalo Sabres. 15 of the 19 Sabres to touch the ice had above-average showings, with 11 of them earning a “B” grade or better. This is hands-down the highest overall performance since the inception of Sabres Grades.

Must Read: Sabres Jump Sharks in San Jose

If you missed the introduction to the new grading system, we’re assigning letter grades to each Buffalo player based on game performance. The letter grades are assigned based on statistical computation, taking into account the following factors:

  • Production
  • Quality of offense
  • Quality of defense
  • Volume of offense
  • Volume of defense
  • Powerplay performance
  • Penalty kill performance
  • Penalties drawn and taken
  • Role
  • Minutes played
GradeLower LimitUpper Limit
A+92%100%
A85%92%
A-77%85%
B+69%77%
B62%69%
B-54%62%
C+46%54%
C38%46%
C-31%38%
D+23%31%
D15%23%
D-8%15%
F0%8%

Studs

Owen Power

Grade: A-

Production: C+
Offense: A
Defense: B
Special Teams: B+

Power was all over the ice Saturday for the Sabres, topping the grades against the Sharks. Every time he had the puck, he was consistently creating offense using his keen vision in the offensive zone cycle. He notched a secondary assist on the first Sabres goal, but his game was more about creating shot attempts and limiting quality chances against.

With Mattias Samuelsson out due to injury, Power has also stepped up on the penalty kill. He was deployed as the third defenseman used in shorthanded situations, and responded with an “A+” grade down a man on Saturday.

Alex Tuch

Grade: A-

Production: A
Offense: B
Defense: B+
Special Teams: B-

Tuch’s impact on the victory was very apparent Saturday. He and Casey Mittelstadt were all over the Sharks on the forecheck, working the walls and causing turnovers left and right. When Tuch has his feet moving, he’s at his greatest.

His primary assist on the Jordan Greenway goal was a slick combination of effort, determination, skill, and vision. He was able to walk of the wall with the puck on his stick and found Greenway cutting backdoor.

In the second period, Mittelstadt forced the turnover and found Tuch clear in the slot for the quality finish. Those events ended up being the game-tying and game-deciding goals. It was a great two-point performance for the newly appointed assistant captain.

Rasmus Dahlin

Grade: B+

Production: C-
Offense: A
Defense: C
Special Teams: B-

Much like Power, Dahlin consistently drove offense whenever he was on the ice. It’s the kind of display you’d expect from the top two defensemen on the roster against one of the league’s bottom-feeders. Dahlin will be headed to the All-Star game, and his number of games in the “Studs” column in January certainly warrant the appearance.

Duds

Ryan Johnson

Grade: C-

Production: D+
Offense: B+
Defense: D
Special Teams: N/A

When you’re leading the “Duds” column with a “C-” grade, perhaps the association is a little harsh. Johnson, much like the rest of the team, was able to create offense consistently. The ice was tilted in terms of scoring chances, as the Sabres really dominated the Sabres throughout the last 49 minutes of the game.

Where Johnson was lacking was in the defensive end, where San Jose was able to get some high-event chances against. He’s been middling in the Sabres Grades for the last handful of games – usually with quality defensive play – so his stint atop the negative column should be a short one.

Kyle Okposo

Grade: C-

Production: D
Offense: C-
Defense: B+
Special Teams: B+

Okposo started his second straight game on Buffalo’s top line with Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner, and it was clear from the get-go that they were going to be the Sabres’ top trio only on paper. Okposo looked slow, Skinner is still recovering from injury, and Thompson only managed two shots on goal.

Clearly he’s not the ideal fit on that unit, but the Sabres seem to be short one scoring forward to round out their lineup. One scoring forward – that is – prior to Jack Quinn’s injury. If Zach Benson’s not going to be able to step up and produce, then Buffalo’s hand will be forced to go out and find a solution elsewhere.

Jacob Bryson

Grade: C

Production: D+
Offense: B-
Defense: B-
Special Teams: N/A

“B-” grades against the Sharks on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game are all you can really ask from the Sabres’ sixth defenseman, so Bryson did his job. Though initially paired with Dahlin, the coaching staff only deployed Bryson for a little over 14 minutes in the game – about three shifts less than the next lowest defenseman.

Still, not being able to contribute to special teams hurts his value. For Bryson to ever become a regular contributor in the NHL, he’s going to have to carve out a niche role somehow. The league simply doesn’t value undersized left-shot defensemen that don’t bring any unique skills to the table.

Sabres Grades vs. Sharks

PlayerPositionPercentileGrade
Owen PowerD84%A-
Alex TuchF81%A-
Rasmus DahlinD71%B+
Zach BensonF68%B
Henri JokiharjuD64%B
Jj PeterkaF63%B
Eric RobinsonF63%B
Jordan GreenwayF61%B-
Casey MittelstadtF60%B-
Peyton KrebsF56%B-
Jack QuinnF55%B-
Jeff SkinnerF53%C+
Tage ThompsonF53%C+
Ukko-Pekka LuukkonenG51%C+
Dylan CozensF49%C+
Connor CliftonD44%C
Jacob BrysonD43%C
Kyle OkposoF38%C-
Ryan JohnsonD37%C-

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