25-Year-Old Center – Buffalo Sabres
Johan Larsson Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $2.95 million contract extension with the Sabres in July of 2017.
Larsson notched an assist in Wednesday's 5-4 loss to Minnesota.
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Johan Larsson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Buried at the bottom of the depth chart at the beginning of the past season, Larsson got his big chance late in the year after the Sabres suffered key injuries, and finished with 13 points in the final 19 games of the season while filling in as the team's top-line center. Signed to a one-year, one-way extension in the summer, Larsson is expected to be a regular contributor as a depth scoring winger, likely on the Sabres' third line. He'll have to prove last year's hot run was no fluke in order to earn a larger role.
The Swedish utility forward can do everything except stick with the Sabres. In 28 games, Larsson managed just four assists and was demoted to the AHL to finish the season. Considered a strong defensive player, Larssonís offensive production in the AHL with 41 points in 51 games came as a surprise. He doesnít possess the talent to duplicate that kind of production in the NHL, but it still bodes well for his future as a two-way player. He will have to compete for a spot in the Sabres lineup, and even if he doesnít make the opening night roster he is a sure bet to get a call up later in the season.
Larsson was traded to Buffalo in the Jason Pominville deal and immediately reported to AHL Rochester, where he posted four points in seven games to go along with the 37 points in 62 games he posted with the Wildís affiliate in Houston. The former second-round pick is expected to challenge for a spot on the big club this season, but there will be plenty of competition. A likely scenario is Larsson starting the season in the AHL with a potential mid-season recall.
Larsson is a dangler with a solid all-around game, making him an intriguing prospect in Minnesota's system. The Swede was taken 56th overall by the Wild in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and signed a three-year, $2.7 million contract with the club this past May. However, the winger is expected to play for Brynas in Sweden in 2011-12, so he shouldn't be on your radar just yet.
Larsson was the Wild's second round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The LW showed promise in his Swedish junior leagues teams. Last season, he tallied 15 goals and 34 points in 40 games for Brynas IF Gavale. He's only 5-foot-10 but weighs in at a solid 200 lbs, so getting bigger is not something he'll have to work on. It'll be an adjustment playing against North American players, as he's only played in Sweden against his fellow countryman. The chances of making it up to the NHL this season are slim to none.