Sabres' Johansson feels he can add veteran leadership

Marcus Johansson likes the kind of hockey the Sabres want to play

Paul Hamilton
September 13, 2019 - 3:01 pm

Photo courtesy of @BuffaloSabres (Bill Wippert)


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - New Sabres winger Marcus Johansson took the ice for the first time on Friday as training camp got underway. In his first taste of action, he was part of a Swedish line with Victor Olofsson and Rasmus Asplund. The former Bruin said he’s happy to be here, “It feels good, I’m excited to be here and it’s fun to meet everyone and I can’t wait for the season to be started.”

Johansson played seven seasons in Washington before going to New Jersey for most of two years. He was traded to Boston for 10 games and a long playoff run. Johansson said it was new coach Ralph Krueger that convinced him to become a Sabre, “Especially talking to Ralph, I felt like he’s got good ideas, good values and I think that was something that got me to sign here.”

The second reason is Johansson was impressed with guys like Rasmus Dahlin and Jack Eichel, “I think there are some really good young players here with a very bright future and that’s something that’s going to be fun to be a part of.”

Johansson is well aware that the Sabres haven’t made the playoffs in eight years. The winger has only missed the playoffs once in his career, and he thinks he needs to hold up his end of the bargain here, “I’ve got to do my job to help and do my part, but we’ve got to come together as a group and I think that’s where Ralph is really good too.

“You’ve got to stick together through good and bad. I mean, just because it starts going bad, you can’t just lay down and quit, you’ve got to work through it. This team showed the potential it has last year in the beginning of the year, and hopefully I can help with some consistency and help when it’s not going as well.”

In 2018, nobody gave New Jersey a chance, yet the Devils made the playoffs. Johansson said, “My first year with the Devils was not too different from this coming here and missing the playoffs. I mean, we want to make the playoffs, that’s why we play. We’re going to have to take it one step at a time, but we have to realize every other team is going to try to keep us out of it. So it’s not going to be easy, but if we stick together and build on what this team did last year, I think Ralph can put the pieces together here.”

Friday was the first day on the ice for the team and Krueger stressed pace. Johansson said, “We’ll play with a lot of speed. He wants to keep our feet and the puck moving, we’ll forecheck a lot and play with pace. I like that, I think it’ll fit this group.”

The Sabres made it official that Zach Bogosian, Lawrence Pilut, Matt Hunwick and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will all miss training camp. The next update will come after camp ends.

Don’t look anything into these line combinations as it’s the first day and they will change a lot before October.


Group 1:

49 - Smith     37 - Mittelstadt     23 - Reinhart

68 - Olofsson     74 - Asplund     90 - M. Johansson

73 - Pekar     17 - Sobotka     21 - Okposo (12 - Porter - ROC)

20 - Wilson     25 - Ruotsalainen     15 - Dea (82 - Olson)


19 - McCabe     3 - Borgen

8 - Nelson     62 - Montour

44 - Hickey     45 - Fitzgerald

61 - Stephens     38 - Redmond (ROC)


35 - Ullmark

36 - Hammond


Group 2:

43 - Sheary     9 - Eichel     13 - Vesey (47 - Malone - ROC)

53 - Skinner     71 - Rodrigues     27 - Lazar

81 - Elie     42 - Cozens     72 - Thompson

28 - Girgensons     22-  Larsson     52 - Oglevie (46 - Cornel - ROC)


26 - Dahlin     55 - Ristolainen

6 - Scandella     33 - Miller

78 - Bryson     10 - Jokiharju (58 - Gilmour)


40 - Hutton

34 - J. Johansson

50 - Houser (ROC)

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