2014 NHL Draft

Victor ‘Goal-ofsson’ turning into another offensive weapon for Sabres

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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.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Forsling, Nylander lead Sweden past Russia

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Gustav Forsling scored twice and William Nylander setup a pair of goals, including the game winner, as Sweden edged Russia 3-2 Monday night at the world junior championship.

Detroit Red Wings’ 2014 seventh round pick Axel Holmstrom netted the eventual game winner at 10:53 of the third period, one timing an Oskar Lindblom feed for his first of the tournament.

Monday’s matchup between the Russians and Swedes featured two 2014 New York Islanders draft picks in goal.

Fourth-round selection Linus Soderstrom made 27 saves for the win while third-round pick Ilya Sorokin stopped 23 shots in the loss.

Vyacheslav Leschenko scored both goals for Russia.

The win improves Sweden to 3-0-0 at the tournament and keeps them atop Group B while the loss dropped Russia to 1-1-1.

Despite the early tournament success, Nylander, the Toronto Maple Leafs 2014 first round pick, believes Sweden has room to improve.

“I think we’ve got a little ways to go,” said Nylander, who now has two goals and two assists in three games. “We’re still not at our top level yet. We’ll get there as the playoff round starts.

“I think as a team we played a lot better in the first. We want to try to get our game to be as consistent as we played in the first. I think we gave them some more chances there in the second and then picked it up in the middle of the third. We just need that consistency and we’ll be good.”

Forsling, the Vancouver Canucks’ fifth-round selection at the 2014 NHL Draft, opened the scoring with his first of the tournament at 10:38 of the first.

With Calgary Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov serving a hooking penalty, Forsling put his point shot past a screened Sorokin.

After Leschenko scored twice to give Russia a 2-1 lead, Forsling added his second of the night and the tournament with a point shot, which found its’ way past Sorokin.

“It was nice. There was many people in front of the goal so I just get a shot through the guys and to see it go in — it was nice,” said Forsling. “Nylander sets me up really good. We’ve got some people in at the goal so I’ve got to give thanks to them.”

Nylander admitted post game that his familiarity with linemates Holmstrom and Lindblom, a Flyers’ prospect, from the Under-18 tournament has helped at this year’s Under-20 tournament.

The trio combined for five points in the win.

“Being together on such a short notice, you’re able to pick up the chemistry together cause we played together there at the U 18 so it’s getting better and better every day,” said Nylander.

Added Holmstrom: “William is such a good player. Probably one of the best players in this tournament. We’re good together.”

Sweden concludes the preliminary round against Switzerland on Wednesday while Russia plays the Czech Republic.