Marcus Johansson Signs With The Buffalo Sabres
Many believed Marcus Johansson would have returned to the New Jersey Devils this off-season, or even the Boston Bruins, however, both sides had different intentions. On July 6, the Sabres signed Johansson to a two year, nine million dollar contract with an Average Annual Value(AAV) of $4.5 Million. Here are my thoughts on the signing:
Johansson should slot in on the second line pushing down Conor Sheary to the third line. He could help young center, Casey Mittelstadt. He could have a bounce-back year himself, having scored 13 goals and 30 points last season. He had his best offensive year in his last year with the Washington Capitals. The winger put up 24 goals and 34 assists for 58 points. Johansson averages out to score between 40-45 points per year, and in 588 games played in the NHL, the forward has 120 goals, 214 assists for 334 points. He is known for his pass-first mentality and that could help Mittelstadt knowing he likes to shoot the puck.
Johansson’s playoff experience will surely help the Sabres who potentially could contend for a playoff spot this year after not making them since 2011, the rebuild is looking to be finally complete. Should Johansson and Mittelstadt gel, they could be a lethal duo and we could see a career year for Johansson and a solid sophomore campaign from Mittelstadt. I would expect Johansson to score about 20 goals and get 20-25 assists for between 40-45 points realistically. I expect he would help Mittelstadt reach the same numbers.
After conversations with a few of my peers, the general consensus is that if the Sabres are not in a playoff spot near the trade deadline in the final year of his contract, Johansson could be moved to a contender as a rental. I would expect to see the same thing.
Johansson is headed to his fourth team in his NHL career, let’s see how this plays out.