July 13, 2024

The Sabres need to focus on three depth centers in NHL free agency…

The Buffalo Sabres could finally be one of the more active teams in NHL free agency this summer, and a depth center would be a good place to begin.

The rumor mill has already shown us what Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams may decide to do this summer, and the forward group could see not one but two new names. Today, we’re talking more about a potential depth forward joining the team, most likely a center, and luckily for the Sabres, there will be quite a few of them available in NHL free agency.

One name they could go after is Adam Henrique, who was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in March as a stopgap depth scorer. Signing the experienced, productive Henrique would make a ton of sense for Buffalo, but if the 34-year-old is looking to either stay in Edmonton or sign with a surefire contender next season, he will be tough to land.

But that’s okay since there are also younger, solid depth centers out there who could factor in as potential long-term solutions, something that wouldn’t be as feasible with Henrique. Let’s explore three more centers and why they would make a good fit in Buffalo for the 2024-25 season and beyond.

Elias Lindholm’s complete game would be more than valuable

Elias Lindholm initially didn’t look like a good fit with the Vancouver Canucks, or at least to the same extent that he looked like a great fit with his former team, the Calgary Flames. But in six playoff games as of May 8th, Lindholm put up two goals and an assist. He’s been physical, and the 29-year-old has been getting in front of shots.

It’s getting safer to say Lindholm has been coming on stronger as of late. Even if it may take him a while to get used to the system with his next team should he not stay in Vancouver, he will reward whoever signs him next. Plus, even if his overall points total, 12 in 26 regular season games with the Canucks, didn’t look good, Lindholm was still playing like a true defensive forward.

And we know it’s something he could wind up doing more of in Buffalo if he was cool with playing most of his minutes on the third line. Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens should get back on track and enter the season as the No. 1 and No. 2 centers, so with fewer minutes on the ice, it would help Lindholm’s game thrive.

Putting him onto a line with wingers Jordan Greenway and Zach Benson would also make for a gritty, defense-first unit. And if he starts scoring again the way he did with the Flames, Buffalo will also gain some edge offensively on that line.

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