Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams has enjoyed far more ups than downs so far, but he’s made one horrific mistake with the lineup.
In 2022, the Buffalo Sabres brought back Victor Olofsson on a two-year contract with an AAV of $4.75 million, but the winger has more than failed to live up to those expectations. Last season, Olofsson was at least able to score, and he ended up with 28 goals, but no one, not even Olofsson’s biggest critics, saw the disaster that has been in 2023-24.
Sure, there have been other players struggling early in the season, notably Peyton Krebs and Connor Clifton. But Krebs has enough time to turn it around, so he’s getting the benefit of the doubt. Clifton is still new to the system, and he’s basically in the same position Jordan Greenway was in last season – in an adjustment phase, so there’s no reason to worry about him yet.
As for Olofsson, he’s 28 with 271 games of NHL experience, and has played in four full seasons. He’s been given plenty of chances to succeed, including this year, albeit being a healthy scratch for a few of those games.
Buffalo Sabres general manager made a mistake in re-signing Olofsson
Olofsson was nothing more than a good goal scorer on a team that ranked third in goals scored last year. This year, in eight games played, Olofsson has just one point, and his average ice time is a career-low 11:25 per game. It’s clear that Olofsson is running out of chances, but check out this quote from Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic and tell me that it doesn’t ring true:
"“The Sabres seem intent on finding ways to keep him out of the lineup. That’s not ideal for a player making $4.75 million, but with so many teams pressed against the cap, it’s tough for the Sabres to find a solution at the moment.”"
While Olofsson was coming off of a tremendous stretch when Adams re-signed him, it’s also important to note that he did go three months without scoring a single goal during that 2021-22 season. That said, it’s not like we didn’t know Olofsson was, at best, incredibly inconsistent.
This also isn’t to say the signing looked like a bad deal in foresight, as it could have gone either way given Olofsson’s resurgence late that season. But in hindsight, it was a mistake, and fortunately for Adams, he his Buffalo Sabres have enough talent in the lower leagues to replace Olofsson once his contract expires and he can go elsewhere.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)