Erik Johnson skates today in Scotiabank Arena. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Erik Johnson set to join list of notable veterans traded by Sabres

TORONTO – By Friday’s trade deadline, Sabres defenseman Erik Johnson will likely earn a spot on a short list of decorated, high-profile veterans who recently spent less than one season in Buffalo.

Johnson, like winger Taylor Hall and center Eric Staal in 2020-21, will almost certainly come and go in a matter of months before being dealt to a contender.

The Sabres began scratching Johnson, 35, last week to protect their asset. He will sit out his fourth straight game tonight against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.

After signing a one-year, $3.25 million contract as a free agent, Johnson has played 50 games, more than Hall (37) and Staal (32) did in Blue and Gold. Still, coach Don Granato said Johnson, who won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2022, has impacted the Sabres in “many areas.”

“His wealth of experience at this level and … he’s had lots and lots of challenges in his career and lots of learning experiences,” he said. “For him to be able to share them with our players in situations, whether it be five-on-five or penalty kill. I’ve pointed out on the penalty kill he’s really helped the group’s confidence grow.

“And then physicality, he’s always brought physicality. So there’s a lot to him, obviously, because of the path he’s taken and the success he’s had in his career. He’s been one guy that’s been generous to help the guys next to him.”

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