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Report: Chad Johnson likely returning to the Sabres

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A familiar face could backup Robin Lehner between the pipes next season

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Former Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson will likely return to the Sabres according to The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. Johnson is an unrestricted free agent whose rights are currently held by the Arizona Coyotes after a trade with the Flames.

Johnson played 36 games with Calgary last season, posting a 18-15-1 record, a 2.59 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. At points he was the Flames starter, but Calgary opted to make a change when they traded him as part of a package for Mike Smith this off-season.

He spent 2015-’16 in Buffalo, filling in for starting duties when Robin Lehner went down with injury. That season he went 22-16-4 in 45 games, recording a 2.36 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.

Johnson is 31 and has played 137 games over his seven-year career. If he signs, the Sabres will recreate their goalie pairing from two seasons ago of Lehner and Johnson.

The move would likely push Linus Ullmark down the depth chart, relegating him to Rochester’s starting goalie position. Ullmark, 23, only played in one game with the Sabres last season but has emerged as the team’s goalie of the future after the departure of Cal Petersen.