Greeley sheds some light on the Sabres' European signings this offseason

Sabres assitant general manager Steve Greeley spent some time with Howard and Jeremy on Friday

Howard & Jeremy | Weekdays 6a-10a
June 08, 2018 - 10:33 am

Photo: Micheline Michaelina - Rochester Americans

With the Stanley Cup Final now in the rear view mirror, teams around the National Hockey League now turn their direction to the offseason and focusing on adjustments for the 2018-19 season.

The Buffalo Sabres already know that they will be selecting with the first overall selection, which is likely to be Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.

However, the Sabres have also been busy adding pieces that will hopefully be key contributors in the years to come in Buffalo.

The team has signed three Swedish prospects to their entry-level deals after successful seasons this past year in the Swedish Hockey League.

First, it was forward Victor Olofsson signing his two-year entry-level contract after leading the SHL with 27 goals in 50 games played. Olofsson was Buffalo's seventh round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, and spent the last two seasons playing with Dahlin and the Frolunda Indians.

That was followed by the signing of 22-year-old defenseman Lawrence Pilut, who played for the past several years with HV71. Pilut had a breakout year in the 2017-18 season, scoring eight goals and 38 points, while winning the Salming Trophy as the defenseman of the year in the SHL.

Finally, Buffalo signed 2016 second round pick Rasmus Asplund to a three-year entry-level deal after spending the last two years playing with Farjestad BK. Asplund improved his overall game this past season in Sweden, scoring eight goals and nearly eclipsing the 30-point mark in 50 games.

All three of these players, in addition to Dahlin, will potentially have the chance to crack the lineup in Buffalo next season, but they will have to earn their spot in the NHL at training camp and during the preseason.

Sabres assistant general manager Steve Greeley joined Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Friday to discuss the signing of these three players, as well as Dahlin, and what he sees in each of them moving forward with the organization.

Here is some of what he had to say:

On the impact of young defensemen like Dahlin and Pilut:

"The league hasn't gotten easier, but I think it has gotten younger. With that, I think these younger defensemen are coming in, and speed is probably a bigger part of the game than it was 5-10 years ago because there's a little bit more space to use your speed. I think that while it's a difficult adjustment for all young players, I do think the young players and their speed are starting to have a quicker impact a little earlier in their careers. That's a good thing."

On Lawrence Pilut:

"Lawrence is a guy we were very excited to get. He played last year for HV71, he's been in that organization and in the top Swedish league since he was 18-years-old, which is impressive. He's a young kid, like a December 1995-born, which excited because it's a kid who can come into our organization and hopefully grow with it and be part of the core."

"He's a puck-moving defenseman who led that league in scoring. He gets up in the play, he moves it, he always has deception... He's a top-five to seven minutes played for a defenseman in that league. To me, he's a guy who is a little undersized, but his hockey sense, his hockey IQ is what has made him such a good player in Sweden, and a guy we're really excited to have come over."

On Rasmus Asplund:

"Rasmus is a kid that's capable of playing center. He's a 200-foot player, very smart, always in thew right position. He has some offense to his game, but he also doesn't cheat. He's not going to be a player that's flying out by the red line with the the puck still in our zone. Just a very reliable player."

"All year, he's been begging to get to North America, which excites us. This is a kid with the kind of drive and passion that he wants to be a Buffalo Sabre. We're excited to have him coming over. He'll be here for development camp with all of these guys, but then we'll look forward to December."

On Victor Olofsson:

"He's a kid that led the Swedish league in scoring this year. I think he had 27 goals in 50 games, but it's the manner in how he scores. The puck is off his stick so quickly. He can score from five feet away, 25-feet away. His release is something, frankly, that you can't teach. We could sit here and spend the next five years trying to teach our players how to shoot like Victor Olofsson and I'm not sure we could do that."


You can hear Greeley's entire interview with Howard and Jeremy below:

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