Goals for every player in Sabres organization: Part VIII and Part IX

Marcus Johansson

Please Marcus, please help the 2nd powerplay unit. That’s my goal is to have Johansson be part of rejuvenating a putrid 2nd unit. He excels at carrying the puck with speed through the neutral zone, which is something you like to see on when trying to establish setting up the powerplay. And look, he’s not a gamebreaker on the powerplay, but if he can be part of an overall improvement of that unit, I’ll be happy.

I think if he stays healthy and can help solidify that 2nd unit, I don’t see why he can’t put up 45-50 points. That’s if he plays a full 82 games, which hasn’t happened since 2016-17.

Remi Elie

Elie is much like Wilson, except I think Wilson would get the call before Elie does. Elie may be better defensively, but Wilson provides more on the offensive end which is something the Sabres desperately need in their bottom 6.

Scott Wilson

Honestly, this one is tough. I like the energy Wilson brings and, to me, would be a decent choice as a 4th line left winger, but he has some fierce competition.

My goal for Wilson is much like Curtis Lazar. I think he starts in Rochester, but guys go down and others have to step up. I’d love to see Wilson get a chance when someone inevitably and unfortunately goes down. Just contribute positively when he hits the ice in the blue and gold.

Zach Bogosian

This has been my goal for him the past few season: Just stay healthy. I like Bogosian as a player (mostly) and he seems like an awesome guy, it’s just so brutal he’s been crushed with injuries his entire time in Buffalo.

At this point, I just want the guy to be healthy and play the game he loves. I highly doubt he’ll be back in Buffalo, so I hope to see him at least log some ice time so he can earn a contract elsewhere.

William Borgen

This one is going to be tough, because I think Borgen is a 6th defenseman right now. Not only do I expect him to start in Rochester, I expect him to play behind players like Jokiharju (if he’s there) and Zach Redmond on the right side.

With all the “undersized” puck moving defensemen the Sabres have, they will still need some sandpaper grit. Borgen provides that spark. So my goal is for him to continue to progress as an aggressive defenseman, picking his spots for big hits, while still able to jump up in the play with his skating and passing abilities.

He doesn’t need to light it up offensively if he’s lighting up the opposition, but having a player like Borgen with two dynamics to his game that can make an impact on the game is what you love to see in a young defenseman.


Goals for every player in Sabres organization: Part IX

Jean-Sebastian Dea

Take over as a top 6 center (or winger) after the departure of a few Amerks from last season. With O’Regan, Criscuolo, Simpson and Olofsson no longer with the team, Rochester will need plenty of offense from Dea.

Linus Weissbach

Don’t. Sleep. On. Linus. Weissbach.

The 2017 7th rounder is entering his junior year at Wisconsin sporting 51 points in 61 games. Not bad for being on a sub .500 team his freshman and sophomore year. Yes, he has a lot of work to do to make it all the way to Buffalo, but I just really like the way he plays the game. At times it reminds me of a young Tyler Ennis at times.

Anyways, my goal for Weissbach is to surpass a PPG pace this season and that might be easier to do with players like Alex Turcotte and Cole Caufield entering the fold. Weissbach is a left winger, Turcotte is a center and Caufield is a right winger. Could Weissbach find himself on a line with those two? One can only hope. I’m excited for Weissbach this season, hopefully earning a contract when his season is complete.

Aaron Huglen

So quick tidbit of info, the Sabres own Huglen’s rights until August 15, 2024. Only he and Ryan Johnson have that long to sign, which definitely lit up Botterill’s eyes.

Much like Cederqvist, Huglen is a project. He’ll play another year for Fargo in the USHL before heading to the University of Minnesota. As a 18 year old skill based player in the USHL, my goal is pretty simple.

Besides the getting stronger and improving defensively, he needs to put up at least 40 points. I know I’ve been saying 40 points a lot, but remember, the USHL plays 62 games, not 82. With 14 points in 28 games last season, it’s not unreasonable to ask for 40.

Lukas Rousek

Admittedly I still don’t know much about Rousek, but my goal for him is much like Cederqvist’s. Play the entire season in the Czech professional league and continue to craft his game that can translate into a quality bottom-6 option. 

One thing that would do him well is working on cleaning up his skating stride which can be very erratic.  He has speed and if his stride improves, he will become a more efficient and powerful skater which will only enhance his speed.

Casey Nelson

I’m not as high on Casey Nelson as others. That being said, I think he’d excel in a specific role. If he can provide high quality depth as a 7th/8th defenseman, the Sabres will benefit immensly. It’s hockey, guys get hurt. Multiple guys might be down at once. If he can step in, move the puck, play solid in his own end and limit mistakes, that’s a goal achieved.

He’s not a top 6 defenseman in my eyes, but he can still get plenty of time filling in when needed. Also, it keeps the six playing on their toes because they have Nelson nipping at their heels.

John Gilmour

Assuming Gilmour will play for Rochester this coming season, the Amerks will have the two highest goal scorers from defensemen. Combined with Zach Redmond’s 21 goals (in 58 games!) and Gilmour’s 20 goals, the Americans’ defense could be scary good.

Imagine: Jokiharju starts the season in Rochester because of his waiver exemption, Borgen doesn’t make the cut and Hunwick gets waived. That’s utterly terrifying for opposing team.

Alright, so a goal is for Gilmour to tear it up again. It’s unlikely he’ll get to 20 goals again (and if he does, that’s gravy), but if he can produce 50 points again along with the production of Redmond, the Amerks will be dominant from the backend.

Ryan Johnson

Even as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, I expect Johnson to get more involved offensively. He has the speed, smarts and stick skills to recover (within reason) if he jumps up in the play. Although I don’t put as much stock into points for defenseman of his playing style.

I’d like to see .33 PPG. Getting on the score sheet every third game isn’t too tall of a task for the first round pick. If he doesn’t achieve that, I won’t be too worried, as long as his defensive game continues to dominate and improve to NHL ready status with time.

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