Total Season Stats: 73 GP | 6 G | 8 A | 14 PTS
Contract Status: RFA
The 2018-19 NHL season wasn’t an outwardly good one for Buffalo Sabres forward Johan Larsson. Larsson’s production has continually dropped off, and statistically speaking, this was the lowest-producing season of his NHL career (when you average out points-per game.) That being said, it was a flip-flop of a season for the 26-year-old. Sometimes he was on his mark, and other times he looked like he didn’t belong in Buffalo, let alone the NHL.
Larsson recorded 14 points in 73 games, slightly less than his 17 points (4-13) in 80 games last season. He’s never had an NHL season where he’s put up more than 20 points, and this season, he averaged a career-low .19 points per game. You have to consider, of course, the season the Sabres had and the players around Larsson too.
He finished the season tied for 13th on the Sabres in scoring and was one of the lower-producing forwards on the team. Even many defensemen, including Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian, finished with more points than Larsson, who averaged 14:18 ice time per game.
The one positive note I will point out about Larsson was his bit of success in the faceoff circle. Larsson won 50.7% of his faceoffs this season; 503 wins, to 490 losses. Only Jack Eichel took more faceoffs for the Sabres this season; Eichel went 47% in the faceoff dot.
Larsson had a 49.5% CF over the duration of the season. Of the 160 shots he attempted, 49.4% got on net. That’s on the lower end for the Sabres, by the way - only a handful of players (Jake McCabe, Casey Nelson, Remi Elie and Brendan Guhle) had lower thru percentages.
With all that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Larsson not back in the blue and gold next season. He was a healthy scratch for a handful of games this season but did manage to solidify a spot as a bottom-six forward for the Sabres as the year went on. His consistency is definitely a point to work on, but his penalty-killing has been a nice contribution to the Buffalo team. At times, he hasn’t looked like he belongs in the NHL. Other times, he looks like a solid forward. It’s hard to figure out exactly what to do with him, but Sabres GM Jason Botterill will have to figure that out over the next few months.
Season Grade: B-
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