Sabres Need to Send Peyton Krebs Down to the AHL

The Buffalo Sabres are coming off a massive 9-4 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and their scoring was once again their strongest asset. They have seen significant offensive development from Tage Thompson, Dylan Cozens, Jack Quinn, and JJ Peterka, but one young player in particular still cannot find his scoring touch consistently. Peyton Krebs has been relegated to the third and fourth lines, and it has stunted his growth. While the majority of his teammates have all found ways to score more consistently, Krebs has taken a huge step back compared to last season. It is time that general manager Kevyn Adams sends him down to the Rochester Americans so that he can get his confidence back.

Krebs Has Little to Work with Offensively

Krebs is a playmaker, and will always look to pass the puck before he does anything else. Early in the season he was assigned the passing winger role on the second power-play, but lost the privilege quickly due to his poor decision-making. He was forcing passes, and could not find chemistry with anyone he stepped on the ice with. His fall from grace was rapid, as he saw his ice time decrease from about 14 minutes per game to 10. On top of that, he has been one of the players rotated out of the lineup on multiple occasions in favor of Rasmus Asplund or Vinnie Hinostroza.

Peyton Krebs Buffalo Sabres
Peyton Krebs, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

When Krebs is in the lineup, he does not have much to work with. He has primarily played with Sabres captain Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons, and while both of those players are hard-working, they do not have the scoring talent needed to maximize what Krebs can do. He has also played a short amount of time with Casey Mittelstadt and Victor Olofsson, but unfortunately, the two of them do not generate much offense at even strength together. If Krebs is to remain with the Sabres, he needs to score more goals, or he needs different linemates.

Krebs Needs a Change Soon

Playing with Olofsson is not a bad match, but Krebs’ other winger needs to be someone with more energy and presence. Someone like Cozens would be perfect for him to play with, but there is no chance that coach Don Granato breaks up the “Kid Line” that has brought them so much success. He could instead center a line of himself, Olofsson, and Hinostroza, and the three of them could serve as the third line for the Sabres. He has shown that he is more comfortable in the center position, and both of his wingers would have decent finishing ability. If he stays with the Sabres, then he needs to have a change of linemates, and his ice time needs to go up too. Should he win the third-line role, Mittelstadt would need to be moved down or scratched; both of which are good ideas.

Related – Sabres Need More Production from Bottom 2 Lines

The better idea would be to send him down to the American Hockey League and have him play with the Americans. The Sabres’ minor league team has been playing some very good hockey as of late, and being sent down there would provide Krebs the opportunity to play significantly more minutes per night. Isak Rosen was selected to be a part of the Swedish World Juniors team, so the Americans will be short one of their best scorers. Krebs could fill that role and regain his confidence along the way.

Krebs’ Depth Chart Position Is at Risk

If Krebs is unable to turn things around, then he is at risk of losing his position on the depth chart. He currently is ahead of prospects like Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund, Jiri Kulich, and Tyson Kozak, but if he continues to struggle to make the game day lineup, then they will surpass him with ease. The only way he gains favor is if he finds the scoresheet; whether that is in the goal or assist column does not matter. He showed in the Sabres’ 9-4 win over the Blue Jackets that he has the skill and capability to turn things around for himself, but it needs to become a habit rather than an occasion.

(Krebs’ Goal at 5:45)

The pressure on him to perform is high, and while it is unfortunate, the circumstances that brought Krebs to Buffalo will loom over his head as long as he is in a Sabres uniform. Having been a key piece of the trade that sent Jack Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights, he will constantly be compared to Eichel because of it. If he does not start to produce soon, then it is only a matter of time before the Sabres decide to replace him with someone else.

Multiple Benefits Come From Krebs Being Sent Down

Being sent down is a blow to any player’s ego, and Krebs would not be an exception. He possesses great leadership qualities and could be a fantastic ambassador for the Sabres in Rochester, as his presence down there would send multiple messages to the many young players hungry for a call-up. Sending him down would show the rest of the prospects that roster spots on the Sabres are now earned instead of given. The bottom line is that he needs to be sent down sooner rather than later, because the longer he is being wasted on the fourth line, the sooner his growth will stop.

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