4. Johan Larsson, C/LW
Drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Minnesota Wild, Johan Larsson only spent his rookie season with the Wild until he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 2013.
That deal that saw the Wild send over Larsson, AHLer Matt Hackett, a 2013 first-round pick, and a 2014 second-round puck to acquire Jason Pominville and a 2014 fourth-round pick.
Since being traded, Larsson has spent the rest of his eight-year NHL career with the Sabres. Now 27, Larsson has become a smart, defensive-minded bottom-six forward. Over his eight seasons in the NHL, Larsson has played in over 390 games and scored over 95 points.
This season with Buffalo, Larsson suited up for 62 games, scored 18 points (six goals, 12 assists), and averaged 14:54 of ice-time. Impressively, Larsson also has a good plus/minus of +8 on a team that struggled in the goal differential department.
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Larsson also had surprisingly good possession metrics compared to his own team and the rest of the league with a 50.8 CF% (+2.4 relative) and 50.3 FF% (+2.5 relative). In the faceoff circles, Larsson was also decent with a 48.1 FO%.
In regards to the Sabres’ penalty kill, Larsson played a good amount on it with 124:19 minutes of penalty kill time.
With the type of player Larsson is, I would give him anything from a one to three-year deal. At 27-years-old, it’s justifiable to give him a three-year deal to keep a solid defensive forward like him for a while. However, he’s a bit more money than the other three forwards I listed at $1.55 million.
Overall, I like Larsson as a bottom-six player that can wear down his opposition with the possession game. I think he would be a good acquisition for the Sharks whether it be a one-year or three-year deal, but I wouldn’t go over a $2 million AAV.