Player Report Card: Marcus Johansson
Johansson’s first season with the Sabres was a relatively uneventful.
Total Season Stats: 60 GP | 9 G | 21 A | 30 PTS
Contract Status: Signed through 2020-21 season
Marcus Johansson’s 2019-20 season marked his first with the Buffalo Sabres organization.
Heading into this past season, Johansson’s expectations were raised due to his status as Buffalo’s top free agent acquisition, which might have been a little foolish in hindsight.
Ralph Krueger decided that the most effective way to dispatch Johansson was as a center who handled faceoffs.
When looking at Johansson’s career statistics, the idea behind this seems a little flawed.
The 2019-20 NHL season marked the first time since the 2015-16 season that Johansson had taken at least 270 faceoffs. This past season was only the second time Johansson had taken at least 270 faceoffs since the 2013-14 season.
In a nutshell, the center idea might not have been the best one.
Johansson won 40.8% of his faceoffs (197 of 294), which ranks him 10th among Sabres who have taken at least 10 faceoffs.
In previous stops, Johansson had been successful when playing on the wing with a center who can distribute him the puck.
This was evident at his last full-time stop, with the New Jersey Devils. Johansson was given the opportunity to play with talented centers in the Devils top-six.
In Buffalo, Johansson was expected to be that top-six center, which clearly appears to have hampered his offensive output.
While Johansson only has one year left under contract with the Buffalo Sabres, one might wonder out loud if he can have a bigger impact in his second year with the Sabres if he simply gets pushed back over to the wing.
On the bright side, Johansson did provide veteran leadership to a young franchise that is in much need of some direction.
Aside from that, there was much left to be desired from Johansson - which just so happens to be the unofficial story of the 2019-20 Buffalo Sabres.
Season Grade: C-