Sabres Need to Use Jordan Greenway Differently

The Buffalo Sabres are fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference right now, and to assist them in their efforts to get there, Jordan Greenway was added to the roster at the trade deadline. He was acquired from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a second-round pick in 2023 (originally from the Vegas Golden Knights) and a fifth-round pick in 2024. Greenway has played only two games for the Sabres so far, and he has been mostly regulated to a bottom-six role to acclimate him to the team. Because of this, he has not yet been put in many scoring scenarios, but he deserves a chance in certain situations.

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Greenway is more known for his defensive abilities and his physicality, and that is what he was brought in for in the first place. Where the Sabres have a unique opportunity to use him is in specialty situations that will allow him to function at his highest potential. He has the size to compete anywhere on the ice, and the hand skills to make plays, so once he has gotten accustomed to the Sabres’ systems, he deserves a look in their top-6 group.

Sabres Power play Needs Greenway

The power play for Buffalo has been one of the most one-dimensional parts of their game all year, and having Greenway added to the mix gives them the potential for something different while being the same. The only adjustment that would need to be made is putting Greenway in for Victor Olofsson and then putting him in front of the net. Jeff Skinner would take the one-timer position on the right side, Rasmus Dahlin would stay at the point, and Tage Thompson would remain on the left. The play would work the same as the three primary shooters (Dahlin, Skinner, and Thompson) continue to work the puck amongst each other, but now they would have a massive screen in front as Greenway would be right in the eyes of the goaltender.

Jordan Greenway Minnesota Wild
Jordan Greenway, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If the Sabres want to make good on the investment that they made in Greenway, then he will need to be used in ways that maximize his skillset. The second power-play unit has looked completely useless since Olofsson was taken off of it, so adding him back there would be best while Greenway brings his size and playmaking to the first unit. He was used in this exact way towards the end of their most recent game against the New York Islanders as the Sabres pulled their goalie to try and tie the game late in the period. While the effort did not lead to a goal, there were a number of chances generated from it, so the concept is there waiting to be put in place full-time.

Greenway Is Perfect for the Third Line

The Sabres’ third line has been solid with the likes of Peyton Krebs and Victor Olofsson, so inserting Greenway with them for a longer term would only be positive. Krebs has developed into a gritty playmaking forward, and his new play style compliments how Greenway plays as well. Olofsson is not a physical forward by any means, but with both of his other linemates doing that for him, there will be much more open space for him to put the puck in the net. With Greenway on the left side and finishing checks, he will be put in a scenario where he can play his game and not have too much-added pressure or responsibility.

Peyton Krebs Buffalo Sabres
Peyton Krebs, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Sabres offense is good all around, but they do still need some more defensive awareness from their forward group. Krebs has proven to be a good defensive asset, so putting Greenway on his wing will only make him better, and will help the goaltenders. Greenway’s massive size and reach allow him to be better positioned to make defensive plays, so making him a permanent resident of the third line makes the most sense for what he brings to the table.

Greenway Can be a “Swiss Army Knife” Player for the Sabres

By being deployed on the third line, his ice time will be more limited than if he were to play big minutes with Thompson, Cozens, or Alex Tuch when he returns from injury. This will keep him more fresh throughout the games so coach Don Granato can insert him as needed to spark different parts of his forward group. If any lines need to be more physical, Greenway can be put there to throw some hits and work the corners. If any lines struggle to get to the front of the net, he can be inserted there to take the beating and take away the goalie’s sightline.

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He adds so many new possibilities for offensive and defensive adjustments, and his presence on the special teams units will only further show his value. The Sabres need all the help they can get in every aspect of their game if they want to make a final payoff push, and Greenway is the kind of player that can help them get there. If they do make it to the postseason, his play will be a welcomed sight, especially if they have to go up against the Boston Bruins. Greenway may not have done much yet in a Sabres uniform, but he can be one of the better deadline acquisitions that the Sabres have made if he is used the right way.

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