Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #13 - Johan Larsson
The two-way forward produced in Rochester this year, but has yet to score his first NHL goal.
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 206 lbs.
2013-14 team: Rochester/Buffalo
Acquired: Traded along with Matt Hackett, a 2013 first round pick (Zadorov), and a 2014 second round pick (Karabacek) from Minnesota for Jason Pominville and a fourth round pick
Last year's ranking: 11
He may not be the flashiest player in the world, but Johan Larsson has become a pretty solid prospect in the Sabres system. Although he wasn't in the same realm in the Wild organization as Charlie Coyle, Larsson was well thought of in Minnesota. Last year he got his first real taste in the NHL, and although he was unable to score he showed signs of progress.
Larsson has earned a reputation as a defense first player in Buffalo, but he wanted to make clear during the season that he wasn't one-dimensional. He showed his offensive side in the AHL, scoring 15 goals and 26 assists in 51 games.
Like a few of the other Sabres prospects Larsson has captaincy and World Junior experience. In 2012 he was the captain of Sweden's gold medal winning World Junior team. Before joining the Sabres organization Larsson was named the SHL Rookie of the Year in 2012,
Although Larsson may not have as high of a ceiling as some other players on the list, he's projection as a solid third-line player is very safe. He's a strong skater and has the smarts to be more of a playmaker than the average third liner.
The Sabres lineup is pretty oversaturated on the bottom two lines this year. Some players will have to start the year in Rochester, and Larsson may be one of them. He recently said that he believes he has done all that he can at the AHL level, and in his third season of professional hockey in North America it's time for Larsson to stick.
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