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Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres Top Prospects – #9: Ryan Johnson



The Buffalo Sabres have drafted and developed a number of youngsters currently playing in the NHL (Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power, Dylan Cozens), and the club under former GM Jason Botterill and current GM Kevyn Adams have been able to replenish the organization with young prospects. Throughout the month of August and leading into training camp next month, we will rank the club’s top prospects over the upcoming weeks based on their progress in either the NCAA, CHL, Europe, ECHL, or AHL and their potential to make the Sabres roster and make a contribution in the future. Players are eligible for the list if they have not played more than 40 NHL games and are 25 years old or younger:

#9 Ryan Johnson

It came as somewhat of a surprise when the Sabres were able to get first-rounder Ryan Johnson signed in June prior to him being able to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent this summer. The son of former NHLer Craig Johnson was the 31st overall pick in the 2019 Draft in Vancouver with the pick acquired in the deal with St. Louis for Ryan O’Reilly. The blueliner played four years at the University of Minnesota, where he compiled 59 points (9 goals, 50 assists) in 143 NCAA games.

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams attempted to get the defenseman signed after his junior season but was unable to, leading to speculation that he would attempt to play out his senior season and attempt to sign elsewhere with Buffalo’s left side of the blueline crowded for the foreseeable future with top picks Owen Power and Rasmus Dahlin, but the Sabres were able to get Johnson signed with a two-year, entry-level contract.

Prospect Overview

Hockey Prospect’s Black Book describes Johnson as “a modern, mobile two-way defenseman, who is one of the most fluid skaters in the draft class. He has effortless, multi-directional mobility with first-step quickness, terrific edgework and the ability to stop and turn against the flow of pressure easily and punctually. His escapability and poise with the puck make him a calming presence in chaotic situations. The hockey sense is there in spades. He thinks and feels the game very well and has great spatial awareness, he understands where players have moved to even if he’s not facing them, and he understands the geometry of the rink perfectly.”

With the NHL blueline well-stocked for at least the next couple of seasons, Johnson will be allowed to serve a lengthy apprenticeship in Rochester.