At 24 years old, Buffalo Sabres forward Victor Olofsson is one of the NHL’s oldest rookies this season. But that extra development time at home in Sweden with MODO and Frolunda, as well as spending most of 2018-19 in the AHL with Rochester, is paying off.
Though he’s only played 10 NHL games, the Örnsköldsvik native has already tied an NHL record. His goal during Wednesday night’s 5-4 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens gave him six for his young career, with all of them coming on the power play.
Olofsson now joins such names as Craig Norwich, Sylvain Turgeon and Jeff Norton as players who scored their first six NHL goals on the power play.
Not bad for a 2014 seventh-round pick, eh?
This production from Olofsson, better known as “Goal-ofsson,” has been a long time coming. While he’s been helped playing alongside Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, he’s an older forward who’s been playing against men for years. It also helps that he played six games for the Sabres at the end of last season, which gave him an idea of the level he needed to reach to earn a regular roster spot and helped him feel much more comfortable in North America as he entered training camp.
It’s not just his offense that’s impressed. Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger, who has described the forward as “permanently dangerous,” has praised Olofsson’s work without the puck. That complete package has earned trust from the coaching staff.
But the offense is what will get Olofsson on the nightly highlights. As he makes his Calder Trophy case, his shot has proven to be incredibly lethal. Here are just two examples of how “permanently dangerous” he can be on the ice.
“I think probably the biggest thing is just to shoot it really quick,” Olofsson told the Sabres website last month. “Just to get the puck off the stick as fast as you can before the defenders can get his stick there or the goalie can get in position, because then you don’t have to be as accurate.
“If you’re handling the puck a little bit too long, everyone is going to be in position and it’s going to be a lot harder for you to get that shot through. I think the biggest thing in my mind anyways is I’m just trying to get it off as quick as I can.”
The Sabres are 3-0-1 through four games and Olofsson, Eichel, Reinhart, Rasmus Dahlin, and Jeff Skinner are helping lead the way offensively. Things are looking up so far under Krueger, but as Eichel understands after last season, consistency will be key for this season. Same goes for their new rookie weapon up front. But maturity and his confidence in his first full NHL season will serve him well.