Ryan Johnson's chances

Will Ryan Johnson next season become a consistent member of the Sabres roster?
Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers
Buffalo Sabres v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Buffalo Sabres have a large talent pool of players that could move up and contribute significantly to the roster next season. One such member is defenseman Ryan Johnson. The Sabres drafted Johnson in 2019 and he made his NHL debut this past season.

Buffalo called up Johnson in November 2023, making his NHL debut. In 41 games, he had seven assists and 39 blocks on the season. His last assist came on February 13, 2024, against the Los Angeles Kings. Ryan found Rasmus Dahlin for an even strength goal, en route to a 7-0 victory.

The Sabres sent down Johnson to the Rochester Americans in March. In 27 games for Rochester, the defenseman contributed with nine assists during the regular season. He is currently under contract through 2025 and accounts for only a cap hit of 1.12% to Buffalo. The blue liner is poised to make $925,000 before becoming a restricted free agent in the offseason.

Depth was an issue last season and the Sabres need to have players contribute to both sides of the ice. Having a player like Johnson as an added addition to the roster for next season could provide a spark on the second or third line. He was a +3 during this season. Only nine players this year had an ice time that was better than Johnson's.

His father is Craig Johnson, who was a forward in the NHL in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues and is best remembered for being a part of the trade that brought Wayne Gretzky to the Blues.

Now Johnson will look to become a part of the Sabres roster for an entire season. He averaged 13:52 minutes of ice time during his time in Buffalo. If he continues to prove his worth, look for him to be on the roster for all 82 games during the year.