Mittelstadt showed flashes of promise at times, but was plagued with injuries throughout the year.
Our Buffalo Sabres 2022 player report cards continue today with a look at forward Casey Mittelstadt.
Total Season Stats: 40 GP, 6 G, 13 A, 19 PTS
Contract Status: Signed through 2023-24 (RFA in 2024), $2,500,000/yr
The hope was to see a fully healthy Casey Mittelstadt throughout the season in a 1C or 2C role in his fifth season with the Sabres. After playing almost a full season in his sophomore year in 2018-19, Mittelstadt only played in 72 games combined in the following two seasons after that.
Unfortunately for both the Sabres and Mittelstadt, that trend continued over this past year. Mittelstadt suffered an upper body injury in the home opener against Montreal and wasn’t able to return until early December after rehabbing for a few months. Just three games after coming back into the lineup, Casey once again suffered an injury in a similar spot as before, which forced him to take a surgical route to fix the problem.
Despite the ailment, Mittelstadt still played in 40 games during the season and contributed 19 pts. While he never fully seemed at 100% whenever he was on the ice, Casey seemed to play a more physical game than he did in the past, and showed signs of improvement in multiple areas.
While his defensive game still needs some work, Mittelstadt has an offensive side that looks to be beneficial to the Sabres down the road. He has a very good wrist shot that he can get off quickly from any angle, with the majority of his goals being scored in that fashion this season. Mittelstadt was also a great contributor as a playmaker this past year, creating space and setting up his teammates on both the powerplay and during even strength.
Finally, Casey also had the privilege of being able to score the last goal the legendary Rick Jeanneret will ever call. In the last game of the season against Chicago, Mittelstadt drove hard to the net in overtime and was able to put back a rebound to end the game.
RJ’s last call.
Casey Mittelstadt wins it in overtime. pic.twitter.com/MUmC7XkR1z
— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) April 30, 2022
While his season might not have been what he, or the fans, had expected (mostly due to injury), moments like that one can be used as motivation to carry into next season. If he can stay healthy next year, I fully expect Mittelstadt to take an even bigger step and have his best season yet.
Season Grade: B-
What grade would you give Casey Mittelstadt?