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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25, #20: Jonas Johansson

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of seven staff writers and over 250 fans that ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 15th, 2020. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player. This is our 2020 pre-draft rankings.

Heading into the 2019-20 season, Buffalo fans had high hopes for goaltender Jonas Johansson. After a handful of roster moves, the Swedish netminder was finally going to get his chance to show the Rochester Americans he was for real, and after going 13-3-3 in his first 20 AHL starts, it seemed he had done just that.

His then-fourth-best .925 save percentage and a third-best 2.19 goals against average earned him a spot in the AHL all-star game. He followed that up with a callup to the NHL, where he would serve as option 1A to Carter Hutton. He played just under half of his first game in the big leagues, relieving a flailing Hutton and making 14 saves, allowing only one goal. Everything was coming up Jonas.

Then…things took a turn. The organization set him up for a solid confidence boost, giving him the start against the Detroit Red Wings. Johansson allowed three goals in regulation and lost the in the shootout 4-3. The Red Wings scored two percent of their total season goals in one game against Johansson.

The team gave him another shot a couple of nights later against the Anaheim Ducks. Again, Johansson failed to make his mark, allowing three goals on 28 shots. He began his NHL career 0-1-1, and a goaltender operating with one good eye had replaced him as a full time option.

Johansson’s time with the Sabres wasn’t all bad – it took a couple of weeks for the team to turn to him again, but on February 23, he took the net against Winnipeg and held his own, taking a 2-1 decision from the Jets.  He followed that up by allowing four goals in his next two starts.

Johansson went back to Rochester after Linus Ullmark returned to the lineup, watching Ullmark post a shootout win against the Washington Capitals. Johansson got two more starts for the Amerks before the truncated season came to a close. He finished with a .894 save percentage and a 2.94 goals against average in the NHL and a .921 save percentage and a 2.19 goals against average in the AHL.

It’s probably not quite fair to evaluate Johansson on these six games, but the problem is that he’s got Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen coming hot on his tail, and Linus Ullmark did well enough to stay around next season – this really was Johansson’s ‘mom’s spaghetti’ one shot, and unfortunately, he may have blown it.

#25 Linus Weissbach

#24 Aaron Huglen

#23 Miska Kukkonen

#22 Lawrence Pilut

#21 Linus Cronholm

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