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Sabres Analysis

Sabres Grades: Peyton Krebs

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Peyton Krebs Buffalo Sabres season grades

Peyton Krebs comes in at number 15 in the Sabres Grades countdown. A key piece of the Jack Eichel trade, Krebs has yet to establish himself as more than a bottom-six center. His performance on Buffalo’s fourth line was worthy of a promotion, but his third-line output left more to be desired.

The Grading System

If you missed the introduction to the grading system, I’ve assigned 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

It’s important to understand that these player performance grades are solely based on the algorithm created, with the one exception being a game shortened by injury. A player who missed significant ice time due to injury was not docked for fewer minutes played. This eliminates the confusion of how well a player performs when available.

I went back and graded all 82 games this season for every player. This way, we fully understand the progression of each player’s performance on a game-by-game basis.

Also, a big thanks to Evolving-Hockey for the individual game data. They’re among the best in the business.

Here’s the grading scale in table form, for reference:

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%

Previous Sabres Grades: Bowen Byram

Peyton Krebs

Season Grade: C

Average: C

Consistency: B

Boom %: C [1.28%]

Bust %: C [16.67%]

Krebs was the center of the discussion by the end of January when he was peaking in a limited role. There were times halfway through the season when every other game he was making a difference as a fourth-line center. He was not being used on the penalty kill by then, and any powerplay time he saw was in spot duty.

This eventually led to Krebs’ promotion to the third line in more of a scoring role after the trade of Casey Mittelstadt. The perspective on the young center changed, affecting his overall grades. Whether it was adjusting to new linemates or facing tough matchups, something wasn’t clicking.

Peyton Krebs Buffalo Sabres 2023-2024 season grades

Charting his season grades game-to-game shows the rise and decline in Krebs’ impact throughout the season. His team-adjusted defensive metrics are strong overall, while his offensive numbers are unimpressive. As a top prospect in the Vegas Golden Knights system, the scouts raved about his puck skills and offensive awareness. The Sabres have yet to see those returns in the NHL.

Grade Distribution

Peyton Krebs Buffalo Sabres 2023-2024 grade distribution

The grade distribution for Krebs shows “C-” as his most common grade. A healthy balance of “C” grades and up brought his season average to a “C”. One “boom” game and a slew of “B” grades highlighted Krebs’ potential, as his offensive play started to pick up.

Peyton Krebs Buffalo Sabres 2023-2024 1st half grade distributionPeyton Krebs Buffalo Sabres 2023-2024 2nd half grade distribution

The second half of the season was undoubtedly better for Krebs, with some peak performances and the mitigation of bad games. This led to increased trust from the coaching staff, although Krebs will have to prove himself to new head coach Lindy Ruff. He did thrive under Seth Appert in Rochester, so his addition to the staff to work with the forwards should be a boost.

Player Comps

Peyton Krebs Buffalo Sabres player comps

Krebs’ most similar players across the NHL aren’t in roles that are exactly encouraging for his future. Joe Veleno aside, the rest of his comparisons are fourth-line mainstays. The Veleno comp is a little more interesting, as he was also a first-round pick who is a little more versatile throughout the lineup. The Red Wings center fills in on both special teams’ units and has provided injury depth to the top-six group in Detroit.

The attributes show Krebs’ aggression. The 64th percentile play-driving suggests he can help drive a line if given some good transition linemates. His eye test shows examples of high-end vision and passing ability, so playing him with a better finisher could improve his playmaking score.

2024-2025 Early Outlook

With only four goals and 17 points in 80 games played, Krebs isn’t expected to land a big contract as a restricted free agent. This could benefit the Sabres, as a low-value bridge deal is likely in the cards.

The Sabres have nine forwards from the end-of-season roster under team control heading into 2024-2025. This currently slots Krebs in as the third center on the organizational depth chart.

Offseason moves will determine if the Sabres start him on the third line again, as they are anticipated to pursue a top-six forward that would push him down the depth chart. They also could be after a third-line center specifically, which would relegate Krebs to the fourth line unless he transitions to the wing.

Without a leap forward next season, Krebs would remain just a good fourth-line center – a fall from what the Sabres expected when trading for him. At 23 years old, his development curve is starting to near its peak.

 

Previous Sabres Season Grades

Prospects and Depth

Casey Mittelstadt, Kyle Okposo, and Erik Johnson

24. Jacob Bryson

23. Tyson Jost

22. Victor Olofsson

21. Eric Robinson

20. Ryan Johnson

19. Lukas Rousek

18. Connor Clifton

17. Zemgus Girgensons

16. Bowen Byram

15. Peyton Krebs

14. TBD

13. TBD

12. TBD

11. TBD

10. TBD

9. TBD

8. TBD

7. TBD

6. TBD

5. TBD

4. TBD

3. TBD

2. TBD

1. TBD

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