It was a big season for Anders Nilsson. The goaltender becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and this season was an opportunity to show what he can accomplish in the net.
Statistically speaking, it was the best NHL season for Nilsson, who matched his career-high in games played (26) and set career bests in goals-against average (2.67) and save percentage (.923).
"I think overall personally I had a pretty good year," Nilsson said. "I went in the year with a mindset that I want to be more consistent, be consistent through the whole season and I think I did. … It's always tough to speculate and see what the future has in mind, but I felt good. I felt consistent throughout the whole season. I think I've played at a high level. I think I gave the team a chance to win almost every night. I mean obviously it's a long year and you have good games and not so good games. Overall I felt good and obviously I would like to maybe play a few more games but my partner," Robin Lehner "had a great season. He played great and so it was a good year, it was a good overall good year for us goalies but from a team perspective it's disappointing. I think we have a team that should be in the playoffs."
While saying it's difficult to speculate the contract process as a unrestricted free agent, Nilsson clearly is interested in returning to the Sabres.
"I like it here. I really do," Nilsson said. "Since Day One it felt like home and I really like the organization. I like the city of Buffalo. I would be more than happy to stay here."
"It's tough to put in words," Nilsson said of feeling at home in Buffalo. "It's a smaller city. It's a big city but it's a smaller city at the same time. I come from a small city myself back in Sweden so maybe that's why it feels more like home to me than maybe a bigger city."
Nilsson also found a comfort zone with Sabres starter Robin Lehner, also a native of Sweden. The two developed a good relationship, both competing for practice time and in developing a friendship off the ice.
"I mean me and him we get along very good," Nilsson said of Lehner. "It's fun coming to the rink every day when you have a goalie partner that you can also call a good friend. We get along great off the ice and on the ice it's been a really good year for both me and him and it's been a good relationship and we've been pushing each other in a good way on the ice. He's been happy for me when I've been playing good and I've been happy for him when he's been playing good. We've been really trying to push each other and make each other better. I think we've done that. It's probably one of the reasons why both of us have been playing pretty good this year."