Johan Larsson Signs with the Arizona Coyotes

Johan Larsson #22 of the Buffalo Sabres

Veteran forward Johan Larsson has signed with the Arizona Coyotes. The former second-round pick had another average season in 2019–20 and will suit up once more for the coming year. Larsson’s new contract is for  two years with financial terms yet to be disclosed. Coyotes insider Craig Morgan broke news of the deal on Saturday.

Johan Larsson Signs with Team

Larsson was perfectly fine with the Buffalo Sabres in 2019-20. He only scored six goals and 18 points in 62 games but the team’s system kept almost everyone’s scoring suppressed. Despite the limitations of Buffalo’s style and level of talent, this was still Larsson’s sixth consecutive season with at least 11 points. Larsson has averaged just 14:39 per game since joining the Sabres so his production is acceptable in that context. He is a reliable .25 points-per-game scoring option who might have been able to do more if Buffalo could have put together a competent product.

The Minnesota Wild originally selected Larsson 56th overall in the 2010 Draft. He skated in just one game for his original team in 2012–13 before he was included in the big trade that sent Jason Pominville to Minnesota in exchange for Larsson and goalie Matt Hackett. That trade did not work out in Buffalo’s favour but it was reasonable at the time. Pominville was entering his 30s and Larsson was a young, interesting forward. There is very little chance that Larsson will find new life as a big scoring threat but he still has some value. He can win face-offs at a reasonable rate and just posted the best Corsi For of his career at 50.3.

What This Means for the Future

Larsson is a very low-risk, and possibly high-reward player. He should be a fine bottom-six for his new team. He is coming off one of his best defensive seasons based on positive possession numbers while starting 61 percent of the time in the defensive zone. That, plus, a consistent 15–20 point ability makes him a bargain for an unusual offseason.

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