Olofsson: NHL debut was 'a dream come true'

The Sabres forward joined Howard and Jeremy after making his NHL debut on Thursday

Howard & Jeremy | Weekdays 6a-10a
March 29, 2019 - 11:43 am

Photo: Buffalo Sabres / Bill Wippert

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Victor Olofsson has had a pretty remarkable first full season playing in North America.

The 23-year-old winger came to the Buffalo Sabres organization this summer after spending four years playing professionally in the Swedish Hockey League with MODO and Frölunda. Olofsson scored 27 goals last season while playing with Frölunda in Gothenburg, Sweden, which led all skaters in the SHL. In his career in the SHL, Olofsson was able to score 60 goals and register 117 points in 200 games played.

In his first season with the Rochester Americans, he has already scored 27 goals and picked up 33 assists in 64 games played in the American Hockey League. His 60 points is good enough to place him in a six-way tie for fifth in league scoring this season.

On Wednesday, Olofsson earned his first call up to the National Hockey League as the Sabres wanted to get a look at him with six games left in the regular season. The next night against the Detroit Red Wings, he made his NHL debut, finishing the night with an assist and five shots on goal in 16:25 of ice time.

Olofsson took the time Friday morning to join Howard Simon and Jeremy White on WGR, and said he took in everything he could from his NHL debut and relished the moment.

"I was super excited," Olofsson said. "It was a lot of fun, a dream come true for me. It has been what I've been working for all of my life. It was really cool, and it was a fun night for sure."

The young Swede got off to a fast start in the 5-4 overtime loss, throwing a number of pucks toward the net in hopes of scoring his first NHL goal. Once the night was through, he ended the night with five shots to the net, and four more shot attempts that hit the net. While his thought was to just play his game in his first NHL game, Olofsson couldn't stop thinking about the possibility of scoring his first goal, of hopefully many, in the league.

"It would've been amazing to get that first goal, and that's another dream I've always had - to score a goal in the National Hockey League," Olofsson said. "I was thinking about that last night, but I was trying to be as calm as I can be and I just went out there and played my game."

Olofsson was put in prime opportunity to get that first goal in the NHL as he was placed on a line with Sabres captain Jack Eichel and forward Sam Reinhart. He did end up picking up his first NHL point on Thursday, assisting on Eichel's third period goal to tie the hockey game at 4-4. It was an exciting start to his NHL career in Buffalo to get a chance to play with two players he has a lot of respect for.

"Obviously both of them are amazing players. Just so skilled and calm with the puck," Olofsson said. "They talked to me throughout the game and helped me a lot. I really appreciated the help and effort they gave me."

Coming over from Sweden to North America this season, Olofsson has had to go through some transitions with his play due to the smaller ice surfaces compared to those in his home nation. However, Olofsson has made that transition look pretty easy, and has continued to play at a very good pace since the first game of the year in the AHL. As for the transition from to the AHL to the NHL, he could see the difference in play right from the get go.

"There's more skilled players, smarter players, and [players who are] a little bit stronger even. It's another level in every aspect of the game," Olofsson said.

A big reason for his success this season with the Amerks has been, in huge part, to the chemistry he has developed with his teammates in Rochester. He has played a good portion of the season with a number of other young Swedish players on the roster, getting comfortable with his fellow countrymen in the Flower City.

One of those Swedish teammates he has really gotten close with is Rasmus Asplund, who he plays on a line with along with Danny O'Regan. The three of them were formed at the start of the season by Amerks head coach Chris Taylor, and have rarely ever seen themselves apart from one another for more than a handful of games. Olofsson feels like their success this season will have an even bigger impact for the team as the playoffs approach for the Amerks in mid-April.

"I feel like we have a great line there," Olofsson said. "We've really been getting to know each other on and off the ice, which helps a lot. You just know where you have the other guys all the time on the ice. We have the same mindset and we want to play the game the same way, so that's helped a lot. I'm really excited to play with them."

Once his time with the Sabres has come to an end, Olofsson will likely re-join the Amerks in their push for the Calder Cup. Rochester has the chance to clinch a playoff berth on Friday with a win over the Laval Rocket, as well as a regulation loss for the Cleveland Monsters against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

You can listen to the entire interview below:

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