Buffalo Sabres’ Mattias Samuelsson to Miss Remainder of Season

Sunday afternoon, it was revealed that Buffalo Sabres’ defenseman Mattias Samuelsson will miss the remainder of the season with an upper-body injury that will require surgery. This comes as yet another injury blow to a Sabres team that has been ravaged by bumps and bruises, including an announcement just six days ago that Jack Quinn would miss eight or more weeks with lower-body surgery.

Mattias Samuelsson Buffalo Sabres
Mattias Samuelsson, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In Samuelsson, the Sabres will be down one of their top-four defensemen who was capable of eating hard minutes at even strength and on the penalty kill. The 23-year-old was on pace to score 13 points, which would be a career-high for the shutdown defenseman. Averaging well over 20 minutes a night, he sported an expected goals share (xGF%) of 51.2% at 5v5, which was good for third on the Sabres among defensemen, solely behind rookie Ryan Johnson (52.83%) and Samuelsson’s partner, Rasmus Dahlin (52.47%).

First Major Injury Hits Sabres’ Defense

This is the first major hit for the Sabres’ blue line, as the vast majority of their injuries this season have been to forwards. Thankfully, this means that Buffalo does have options to replace Samuelsson. He’s already missed a few games this season, and in those games Dahlin paired up with one of Henri Jokiharju or Jacob Bryson, having the most success with the former. In terms of who the sixth defenseman will be, veteran Erik Johnson, who has been injured but should be returning in the Sabres’ next game, will draw in.

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Samuelsson, who signed a seven-year deal worth $4.285 million annually, has been injured often in his young career. In four NHL seasons, the most games he has played is 55 — he dealt with several lower-body injuries last season and was shut down for the final two games with a broken hand and sprained MCL. Let’s hope that it doesn’t become a pattern for the Pennsylvania native, or the Sabres will be forced to dole out money for someone who cannot reliably play a full season.

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