4 Big Questions for the Buffalo Sabres in 2020-21

Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9). Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9). Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jack Eichel (9)
Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9). Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

There are 4 big questions the Buffalo Sabres will have to try and answer in 2020-21.

We are rolling with our 2020-21 NHL Season Previews and you can check in with the teams we have already covered below, but today is the turn of the Buffalo Sabres who are an intriguing proposition heading into the new season.

After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the ninth straight season, the Sabres cleaned house somewhat by firing General Manager Jason Botterill and hiring Kevyn Adams as his replacement.

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And Adams wasted little time in trying to become the man to truly save the Buffalo Sabres, going all out in the offseason to bolster this roster and attempt to try and appease Captain and franchise icon Jack Eichel.

From signing elite winger Taylor Hall to a one-year, $8 million deal to acquiring the true second-line center this team has long craved in veteran Eric Staal from the Minnesota Wild, Adams has made his intentions clear.

As a result, the Buffalo Sabres should be a lot more competitive in 2020-21 but, just as is this franchise’s luck, they will also be stuck in an incredibly stacked and talent-laden East Division.

However, the Sabres need to start winning and now in order to keep Eichel happy, and they certainly made positive strides in the right direction during the offseason.

Will it be enough though? We will look at that and the three other big questions facing the Buffalo Sabres in 2020-21 right now…

Dylan Cozens (22)
Dylan Cozens #22 of Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

4. Could Dylan Cozens crack the roster?

It was a breakout tournament in many ways for Dylan Cozens who absolutely tore it up at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Edmonton for Team Canada, giving Buffalo Sabres fans a tantalizing taste of what is to come.

While Canada ultimately fell short after losing in the Gold Medal game to Team USA, Cozens was the standout star for his country and led Team Canada in points with 16 (8 G, 8 A).

He led the entire tournament in goals with eight and was second in points, giving Team Canada a real scoring punch on their top line.

So, now the World Juniors is done and dusted and in the record books, what now for Dylan Cozens?

Well, according to Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Ralph Krueger, Cozens, along with No. 8 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft Jack Quinn, will report to Training Camp in the coming days as long as they can clear COVID-19 protocol.

And don’t be surprised if Cozens cracks the Opening Night roster for the Sabres.

While General Manager Kevyn Adams did add some depth down the middle behind Jack Eichel and Eric Staal by signing Cody Eakin to a two-year, $4,500,000 contract, there is potential for Cozens to win a roster spot either as the Sabres’ third-line center or on the wing.

Having Cozens as the pivot on the third-line would bump Eakin down to the bottom-line and give Buffalo incredible strength down the middle, or you could start the 2020-21 season with Cozens on the wing in a bottom-six role and see how that experiment goes.

But, boasting speed, size, a lethal shot, a high hockey IQ and able to play a dominant two-way game, having Dylan Cozens as their third-line pivot could really give the Buffalo Sabres a secret weapon and it could help to really drive secondary scoring which is needed on a team that ranked 21st in Goals For Per Game (2.80) in 2019-20.