The Sabers did almost nothing in the first week of free agency. A few signings of players who will probably be in Rochester. On the sixth day of free agency, the Sabers made their great signing in the offseason.
Details: https://t.co/cX6McATfIw pic.twitter.com/ki8ulu94lP
– Buffalo Sabers (@BuffaloSabres) July 6, 2019
Signing Johansson for only 2 years worth $ 4.5 million per year is a great value for the Sabers, in a free agent market that usually sees players overpaid. The value is good and the player is good. Johansson fulfills the multiple roles that the Sabers need.
Before talking about where Johansson fits with the combinations of lines five in five, there is a role that will surely fulfill. Last season, Evan Rodrigues was the player in Sabers' second power game that brought the record to the area. I was good at that, but not great.
Meanwhile, Johansson opted for the Bruins' second power play and is one of the most underrated zone entry players in the league.
– NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) July 4, 2019
Johansson is a shot to the left that plays the half wall with the advantage of man. It may be tempting to put him in the first unit with Eichel, Reinhart and Dahlin. For me, Victor Olofsson fits better in that place with his shot. Eichel and Dahlin should be the entry men to the area in the first unit, with Johansson in the second unit.
Now for five in five. What makes Johansson so attractive as a player is his versatility. He can play and has played all three advanced positions, including the center. Without a big exchange to bring a second-line center, Johansson could be Sabers' best option. Last season, the Sabers, Casey Mittelstadt, Johan Larsson and Vladimir Sobotka centers combined for 52 points in 219 games played. In 80 games, including the playoffs, Johansson had 41 points.
Johansson could be a bridge center for Mittelstadt. If Mittelstadt is not ready at some point in his second year to be one of the six best men, Johansson may be enough. If Mittelstadt takes a big step forward and seems to be ready, Johansson can slide the wing on the second line, or play the third line of the center. There are a lot of options with him.
When healthy, Johansson is a 40-50 point player. The biggest concern with the firm is that it is not always healthy. In the last two seasons he has lost a total of 78 games due to an injury. Many of them were due to two concussions.
This is not Kyle Okposo or Matt Moulson 2.0. The Sabers are not risking much in this deal with Johansson, since it's only for two years. It's exactly the kind of movement the Sabers needed and they made it.