Victor Olofsson has been generating buzz for the last two seasons.
Olofsson lit up the Swedish Elite League (SHL) in 2016-17, and has continued his success in with the Rochester Americans (AHL) this year.
He currently has 60 points in 64 games (Tied for 5th), and 27 goals (Tied for 6th) and is the driving force behind the Amerks offence.
The last two Sabres call-ups have been defenceman, so it seems that Olofsson won’t be getting any NHL games this season but he is primed to lead Rochester on a potential Calder Cup run.
I believe that Olofsson’s game will translate to the NHL level, and given his last two professional seasons coupled with all of his offensive tools he should an NHLer next season.
His name is GOALofsson for a reason, he fills the net on a regular basis and it’s because of his shot.
I have gone on the record multiple times saying Olofsson’s shot is the best shot in the organization. Tage Thompson, Alex Nylander and Jack Eichel all have amazing shots…but they don’t compare to Olofsson’s shot (in my mind).
Victor has the trifecta in terms of an elite shot, he has the power, the accuracy and the crazy quick release that you need to score at any level.
He has scored 25+ goals in three top notch leagues…the SuperElit (Swedish Jr Hockey), the SHL and now the AHL.
2013-14 — MODO — SuperElit — 32 Goals
2016-17 — Frolunda — SHL — 27 Goals
2017-18 — Rochester — AHL — 27 Goals*
* in 64 games so far
The Sabres don’t have a lot of NHL-level scorers in their pipeline…but Olofsson is definitely a player that they can expect to come up and contribute at least 15-20 goals on a regular basis.
He is 23-years-old, he has had a year to adjust to the North American ice…I think in terms of development he is who he is, and he should be expected to step onto the Sabres roster next season.
Olofsson vs. UPL at Development Camp
The release on this shot is crazy, he reminds me of Auston Matthews.
He releases the puck so quickly and from an unconventional angle the goalie had no chance at stopping the puck.
There’s no doubt that his shot can fool goalies at any level…he’s shown it in every league and the #GOALofsson moniker will follow him to the NHL.
The Sabres powerplay has been abysmal since Housley’s staff took over, and there’s plenty that needs to be fixed.
I wrote about their stagnant powerplay early in the season and a lot of the article still applies to their issues today.
But I think that Olofsson can step in and provide an immediate boost to the second powerplay unit.
As stated above his shot is elite, throw him on the 2nd unit as the trigger man in “Ovie’s office” and let him unleash terror for the Sabres powerplay.
Of his 27 goals scored this season, eight of Olofsson’s tallies have come with the man advantage. Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner lead the Sabres with eight powerplay goals this season.
Olofsson also leads the Amerks with 23 powerplay points, Jack Eichel leads the Sabres with 23 powerplay points… Olofsson has the ability to carry a powerplay unit and could tasked with carrying Buffalo’s 2nd powerplay unit once he’s in the NHL.
He does have the potential to play on the top unit but I think having Eichel and Dahlin man the top unit, while allowing Olofsson, Pilut and Montour man the 2nd unit will give the Sabres two deadly powerplays units.
Ability to bring scoring depth
It’s not surprise that the Sabres desperately need scoring depth.
The Sabres have scored 202 goals this season, 83 of those goals have come from three players. In total the Sabres have seven players with 10+ goals.
To put that into perspective the Arizona Coyotes (195 total goals) have 11 players with 10+ goals. Those 11 players have combined for 145 of their total goals.
Buffalo has no consistent scoring outside of Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart (stating the obvious) and there’s not many players within the organization who can be consistent NHL-caliber scorers.
Alex Nylander has stepped up since his call-up and may be a piece that can provide some offence next season. But one player isn’t enough, the organization needs Olofsson to step up and provide some depth to their forward group.
Even if it’s in a bottom-6 role.
Last night the Sabres trotted out a third line of Tage Thompson-Vlad Sobotka-Jason Pominville…with all due respect to those three players that line doesn’t scare anyone.
Olofsson’s already shown he can score at any level…adding him to the Sabres third line next season would bring a threat at 5v5 that they don’t currently have on their roster.
Here are a few examples of how lethal Olofsson can be in prime scoring position:
Olofsson gets the puck at the top of the circles and blasts it past the Marlies goalie.
If you look close enough…Hutchison doesn’t react until the puck is already coming out of the net.
A scorer like this is something the Sabres need on their third line, if Olofsson is playing with a center who can complete passes to the slot he’s going to make goalies pay on a regular basis.
On this goal, Olofsson uses all of his tools to score his 2nd goal of this game.
His quick release allows him to score from further out…he gets the puck, quickly controls it and unleashes a rocket that the goalie had no chance of stopping.
His ability to get into the scoring areas, and his shot are extremely valuable at the NHL level, and something the Sabres need from their wingers.
I’m not sure how good Olofsson will be at the NHL level, but I am certain that if you put him in a position to focus on what he’s good at he will be an effective player.
Olofsson can’t be handled the way the Sabres have handled Tage Thompson. Like Thompson, Olofsson would make a great complimentary piece, unfortunately Thompson has been played with other complimentary players and has flamed out in his first full season with the Sabres.
While it’s not impossible that Olofsson can turn into a driving force, he shouldn’t have those expecatations heading into his first NHL season.
The coach needs to allow him to utilize his strengths and if he does I think it’d be fair to expect him to become a 15-20 goal scorer.
He’s a former 7th round pick, and the fact that he is ready to make the jump to the NHL is a huge win for the Sabres organization, and if he makes the jump next season like many think he should…prepare yourselves to see plays like this:
Lack of scoring has plagued the Sabres for years, but it seems that Olofsson may be part of the solution heading into next season.
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