Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25, #6: Victor Olofsson

Scoring desperately needed for 2019-2020 season

Victor Olofsson is a name that, by now, most Sabres fans have heard of. The Swedish forward has been getting a lot of buzz in the hockey world as of late and had a noteworthy season with the Rochester Americans during 2018-2019 as the leading goal-scorer. It was his professional debut after playing in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) since 2013 and being drafted by the NHL in 2014.

Olofsson’s journey to the NHL, however, has moved somewhat glacially with sundry criticism. His size has been poked at, but his drive has been unstoppable. Despite doubts among the league, the left-handed forward was finally given a shot at Key Bank Center in the latter part of this past season.

Former head coach Phil Housley was notoriously gun-shy (to put it nicely) when calling players up from Rochester, but when he called Olofsson up at the end of March, fans noticed. It was the final weeks of the regular season and the team that had 10 wins in a row in November seemed like a distant memory. It was no secret that the offense was tanking fast and playoff hopes were long gone. The Sabres struggled to complete back-to-back wins for several months and were consistently getting embarrassed thanks in part to their lack of scoring.

Cue the better-late-than-never offense shakeup: the rookie was given the opportunity to play alongside top forwards Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, so the pressure was palpable. However, Olofsson held his own and was happy to shoot the puck as often as he could.

In his debut with the Sabres, he had five shots on goal with nine total shot attempts and earned his first NHL point with an assist to Eichel’s goal. By the conclusion of the Sabres’ regular season, the Swede had two goals and two assists in just six games with a +2 rating. For the Amerks, Olofsson led the AHL with the most game-winning goals at nine total.

With the 2019-2020 season on the horizon and a new head coach to help steer the team in the right direction, fans should expect to see more playing time from Olofsson if not a battle for a permanent roster spot. He may not be playing on the top line(s), but this season will be the true test for what he can do for the Sabres.

#25 Miska Kukkonen

#24 Linus Weissbach

#23 Andrew Oglevie

#22 Jacob Bryson

#21 Casey Fitzgerald

#20 Marcus Davidsson

#19 Matej Pekar

#18 Ryan Johnson

#17 Mattias Samuelsson

#16 Oskari Laaksonen

#15 Arttu Ruotsalainen

#14 Will Borgen

#13 C.J. Smith

#12 Rasmus Asplund

#11 Tage Thompson

#10 Dylan Cozens

#9 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

#8 Henri Jokiharju

#7 Lawrence Pilut