Victor Olofsson’s place with the Buffalo Sabres you would have thought would be in a good place after scoring 20 or more goals for the third time and setting a career-high with 28 goals last season, but a late-season benching and rumors of possibly being traded overshadowed the winger’s summer.
“I obviously (had) a couple tough situations and new situations for me. I really think I learned from that and from him being on the sideline.” Olofsson said on Monday following practice at Key Bank Center. “I also had a career year in goals. It’s easy sometimes to just focus on the bad things and tougher things, but I’m proud of what I accomplished last year and I’m just going to take that with me and build on it.”
Olofsson with a year remaining on his contract and making $4.75 million next season reportedly expected to be traded by the Sabres during the offseason. GM Kevyn Adams may have explored options to move him to upgrade on defense or to clear cap space to add an experienced goaltender, and with clubs looking for scoring with a limited amount of offensive options in the trade and free agent markets, but the Achilles injury to Jack Quinn may have changed the equation temporarily.
Victor Olofsson LABELED this one. 💥
— NHL (@NHL) October 23, 2022
Forward Depth A Luxury
The Sabres appear to have only one forward spot up for grabs with youngsters Matthew Savoie, Jiri Kulich, Isak Rosen, and Lukas Rousek battling to replace Quinn, but the 22-year-old could be back before Christmas, once again putting Adams in the enviable position of having a talent glut up front and not needing a veteran safety net in Olofsson.
Buffalo has the advantage of being one of the few NHL clubs with maneuvering room under the salary cap, giving them the flexibility of retaining up to 50% of Olofsson’s cap hit in a trade. Barring a slew of unforeseen injuries, the odds of the winger being in Buffalo past the trade deadline are slim, and with contenders always looking for scoring depth down the stretch, it is likely that Adams will be able to find interest and get a decent return.