Johan Larsson became an integral part of the Sabres during the last quarter of the season. It was enough for him to come back next year.
The Sabres and Larsson agreed Friday to a one-year deal worth $950,000. The 23-year-old center made $800,000 this season.
After recording just one goal and five points in the opening 47 games, Larsson rebounded with nine goals and 12 points during the final 27 outings. Five of Larsson’s 10 goals were game-winners, tying him with Jack Eichel for the team lead.
Larsson’s defensive work outshined the production as he joined with wingers Marcus Foligno and Brian Gionta to form Buffalo’s shutdown line. Larsson ranked second on the Sabres by winning 51.1 percent of his faceoffs. His ice time during the final month was 16:45 per game, a jump of more than two minutes over his previous average.
Larsson was set to become a restricted free agent this summer. The Sabres’ remaining RFAs include Rasmus Ristolainen, Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Nicolas Deslauriers and Jake McCabe.