The summer weeks often go by with no news for Buffalo Sabres fans to chew on, the only comfort being a familiar longing for the playoffs and a second dollop of Enzo Sauce on our
turkey ham chicken finger sandwiches.
But today, the hockey gods giveth us two things to chew on regarding two of Buffalo’s top goalie prospects.
First, the team announced earlier this afternoon that they’ve signed Swedish netminder Jonas Johansson to his three-year, entry-level contract.
Johansson is a 21-year old prospect drafted by Buffalo in the third round of the 2014 draft. He has good size standing at 6’4’’, and he managed to play in a couple of games for the Amerks towards the end of the season after posting respectable numbers over in Sweden’s Allsvenskan league.
With Linus Ullmark expected to stake his claim to the Sabres backup role next season, Johansson should get some playing time in Rochester next season, assuming they ever find a coach.
The second, and more interesting piece of news, is that Cal Petersen officially decided to leave Notre Dame and turn pro...but neither he nor the Sabres made any announcement of his intentions to sign just yet.
Now that Petersen has made his decision, the Sabres have 30 days to sign him before he becomes a free agent, a la Jimmy Vesey.
After putting up great numbers as the captain of the Notre Dame squad for the past few seasons, Petersen’s skills will surely be in demand by other franchises. It’ll be up to Jason Botterill and company to convince him that he has a chance to eventually get NHL playing time in Buffalo with Robin Lehner and Linus Ullmark already ahead of him in the organizational pecking order.
The good news for worried Sabres fans is, according to John Vogl of The Buffalo News, Petersen spent much of his world championship time getting a sales pitch from Jack Eichel on the Sabres organization and the city of Buffalo. Let’s just hope he reworked the pitch he gave Vesey last summer in Boston.
This is another big test for new GM Jason Botterill, as losing Petersen would be a big blow to the organization’s goalie depth. Petersen is a fantastic prospect and, should he sign, will likely be the starter in Rochester next season. However, Robin Lehner is currently an RFA, and the size and length of his next contract might provide a big roadblock for Petersen’s future in Buffalo.
Still, having too much talent in the pipeline is a good problem to have, and we’ll be sure to keep a close eye on #PetersenWatch as the calendar turns to June. Let us know your Petersen and Johansson hopes and dreams in the comments.