3 contenders who must talk to the Sabres about Erik Johnson

The Sabres may jump back into playoff contention this season, but it doesn’t mean they need to keep all their current players, like veteran Erik Johnson.

Nov 19, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson (6) celebrates his goal
Nov 19, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson (6) celebrates his goal / Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
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New York Rangers goaltenders would get some insurance from Johnson

The New York Rangers aren’t one of the youngest teams in the league, and despite enjoying yet another dominant regular season, their top goaltender, Igor Shesterkin, has yet to rediscover what made him such a dynamic player over the previous three years. Luckily for the Rangers, their backup/1B Jonathan Quick has had a good year, but they need to find a way to continually keep pressure off of Shesterkin should they keep rolling with him as the primary. 

As it stands, Shesterkin is facing 28.6 shots on net per game, a number that the Rangers could stand to cut before the playoff race is in full force. New York already has a sound rotation that can routinely block shots, but given Shesterkin’s struggles, Johnson makes for a great addition on the third pairing or even in a rotational role to stop a few more of those pucks from reaching the net. 

If Shesterkin finds his game and the Rangers call the Sabres for Johnson, then it would make for an ideal scenario for a franchise that hasn’t won a Cup in three decades. And best yet, Buffalo could insert Johnson in a trade package for a player who can use a change of scenery like Kaapo Kakko. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference as of February 21st)