On Saturday morning, David Amber of Hockey Night in Canada broke the news that the Buffalo Sabres had reached a two-year agreement with free agent forward, Marcus Johansson. The initial report indicates that the contract holds an AAV of $4.5 million.
NHL Signing- Marcus Johansson to the #Sabres for 2 years $9M. $4.5M AAV— David Amber (@DavidAmber) July 6, 2019
Leading up to the beginning of free agency, his name (among several others) was linked to Buffalo. Last season between the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins, the Swedish veteran posted 30 points in 58 games. Known for his versatility, Johansson has served as a center and on the wing during his nine-year NHL career, though over the past few seasons, he hasn’t spent much time in the middle.
While he has only eclipsed 20 goals in a season twice, he is a talented playmaker who can move up and down the lineup as needed. The 2018-19 campaign certainly wasn’t his best season from an analytics standpoint, but over the last three years as a whole, he has proven himself to be a positive impact, defensively responsible presence.
What the Sabres have here is a low-risk deal for a veteran scoring presence on a short-term contract. In eight of his nine years in the league, his teams have qualified for the post season. During the Bruins’ playoff run last season, he served as a nice compliment to the team’s already deep forward group.
It will be interesting to see where Ralph Krueger elects to place him in the Sabres’ lineup, but either way, the team has made another step toward addressing their lack of depth up front.