There are plenty of questions concerning how likely the Sabres are to make offers to each of their UFAs. None of these questions should be directed towards Johan Larsson.
Of all the UFAs on the list, Larsson should be the first one to negotiate a deal with. His play during the 2019-20 campaign is more than deserving of a new contract.
The 27-year-old was having his best season yet in the NHL, excelling alongside Girgensons and Kyle Okposo. While a career-best 18 points (six goals and 12 assists) through 62 games may not sound that impressive, this only scratches the surface of how much he has done in Buffalo.
The Sabres already knew Larsson had the skill and the versatility to be an excellent two-way player. It’s why they asked for him as part of their trade deal with the Minnesota Wild in April 2013.
Where the 2010 second round draft pick has really improved, is with his consistency. As such, he has managed to tap into his upside and thrive, helped by his enthusiasm and work ethic.
Talking of Larsson’s upside, the Sabres still have hopes that he can progress to being a part of their top six. Whether this is realistic remains to be seen, but the team are better finding out while he is still in Buffalo, rather than seeing him go elsewhere to possibly fulfill this scenario.
The Lau, Sweden native’s salary for the 2019-20 campaign is $1.55 million. We predict the Sabres will offer him a new deal of either three or four years, in the region of $2.75 million per season.
Chance of returning next season: 90 percent