Goals for every player in Sabres organization: Part VI and VII

Photo credit to @BuffaWallpaper‘s sweet Jokiharju jersey swap!

Victor Olofsson

Please please please don’t put your expectations too high on Olofsson. Yes, he looked great with Eichel and Skinner, but that was for six games at the end of a long season. I think it’s unfair to expect Olofsson to walk in and secure a top-6 role this season.

As I’ve said before, if Kruger needs to switch things up, put him on the wing of Eichel or Mittelstadt, but I want to see Olofsson and Rodrigues produce on the 3rd line.

My goal for Olofsson is 40 points. If he was only playing bottom-6 minutes, that may seem a bit high unless he plays his way into the top-6 for a good chunk of games, but considering it’d be idiotic to not have his cannon of a shot on the powerplay; something like 15-20 goals and 20-25 assists isn’t unreasonable in my eyes. If he exceeds this goal, which I believe he can, then that’s gravy on top.

Vasili Glotov

Unless I’m mistaken, Glotov is still unsigned, but if he ends up signing an AHL deal, I’d like to see him find his way into the Amerks lineup. I wouldn’t see him more than a bottom 6 forward in Rochester, but can provide some scoring depth in the right situations.

Jake McCabe

Step it up offensively. While it’s not wise to start requesting historically defensive defensemen to provide offense, I think it’s reasonable to ask for about 25 points from McCabe. With 14 points in 59 games last season, he was on pace for 19 points over 82 games. Asking for 25 points as a bottom pairing defenseman that’ll likely start in the top 4 until Pilut returns, that’s not unreasonable.

Now, if this comes as a sacrifice to his defensive game, then I’m not looking for points as much. This goal is with the expectation he will maintain or improve upon his defensive game. I will say, he’s a young Jay McKee out there with all the shots he blocks.

Jacob Bryson

My goal for Bryson is a two part answer. First, the oddly specific one: .25 PPG. That means every 4th game, Bryson will get on the scoresheet. I didn’t assign specific points to him because I don’t know how much he’ll play. I’m sure he’ll get a majority of games, but as a 5’9″ defenseman in his first year in the pros, he might need some time in the press box after a rough game.

To me, that’s totally fine, that’s part of learning and if he can come out of those nights off for the better, it’ll only benefit him and people won’t care he was sat (unless his scratching is unwarranted).

For my second goal, I’ll pull from my lineup for a fictional “Prospects Summer League”. I would love to see a Bryson – Borgen pairing, as explained below.

“Bryson is an undersized, puck moving defenseman and Will Borgen is a smooth skating, physical defensive defenseman. He moves the puck just fine and has the skating ability to recover for a partner who could get caught trying to create offense. He looks more and more like the prototypical modern-day defensive defenseman with each passing season… if anyone wants to take any liberties on a smaller defenseman like Bryson, I have a feeling Borgen won’t have an issue throwing hands.”

Erik Portillo

As a to be 19 year old coming over to play in the USHL, my goal is for Portillo to be a complete brick wall. I’m not going to act like I know about the goaltenders in the USHL, but if he isn’t the best goalie in the league by the end of the season, I’ll be surprised. Last year in Sweden’s junior league (SuperElit), he posted an insane 1.99 GAA and .931 S% over 26 games.

I love his calm and composed nature in net and I can see why Future Considerations suggested “he can have that ‘unbeatable’ vibe at times”.

Goals for every player in Sabres organization: Part VII

Conor Sheary

My goal for Sheary is to play his way onto Eichel’s right side. Bump Reinhart to the second line (put him back with Eichel on PP1) and only move Olofsson to the first line if Kruger needs to reshuffle lines for a spark. If he plays with Eichel and Skinner, I don’t see why he can’t put up around 45-50 points. He might not ever get back to his 53 points in 61 games pace from back in 2016-17, but consistency will dictate how long he last with Skinner and Eichel.

Andrew Oglevie

I just want to see Oglevie stay healthy this season. His first pro season really didn’t count because he only suited up for 28 games. As stated for Dea, the Amerks will need guys like Oglevie to step up. I plan on staying patient with Oglevie, even if this year doesn’t go spectacularly. Produce in a middle six role, then gear up for a big third year as a pro.

Henri Jokiharju

It’s a shame Jokiharju might fall victim to the logjam in Buffalo forcing him to play in Rochester. It’s not the worst idea to give the kid a little more seasoning with big minutes in Rochester, but most of us believe knows he’s NHL ready.

I think a goal that is achievable is to just force his way into the lineup. There are a lot of options on the back end and if he can play well enough to force not only a call up, but playing time when he gets to Buffalo and stays, that’s a good year for the Joker.

I’m not in a huge rush with Jokiharju, he’ll be around for a while and once he’s a regular, people won’t care about the cup of coffee he had in Rochester. Now, if he deserves a call up (I’d be shocked if not) and doesn’t get it, then my blood will boil a bit.

Ukko Pekka Luukonen

Ukko Pekka Luukonen is back on the ice after double hip surgery, but I expect the start to his season to be quiet. What I expect is he’ll backup in Rochester, get plenty of practice and extra work and see some games to start off, but Hammond will see a good majority of the early games.

My goal is for Luukkonen to force Chris Taylor’s hand by his play to be the start for the Amerks by the end of the season.

Andrew Hammond

The problem with my goal for Hammond is it contradicts my goal for Luukkonen, but that’s the nature of goaltending. One guy is the starter and the other wants to be.

While my goal for UPL is to take over starting by the end of the season, my goal for Hammond is to hold him off as the starter. That comes with some conditions. I want that to be because of his production and consistency and not due to his age/experience over UPL.

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