At long last, Ryan Johnson joins the fray
He's earned his degree from the University of Minnesota and now it's time for his pro career to get under way.
ROCHESTER — When the University of Minnesota lost to Quinnipiac University in the men’s hockey national championship game on April 8, eyes in Western New York turned toward defenseman Ryan Johnson wondering how soon it would be, if ever, he would put pen to paper to join the Buffalo Sabres.
But as the days went on, there wasn’t much word from Johnson or the Sabres about what, if anything, was going to happen. The Sabres season was winding down with a playoff spot in their sights and the Rochester Americans were gearing up for the postseason in the AHL. It seemed like the perfect time to bring in a first-round talent fresh off another strong college season.
The days counted down and the Sabres season came to an end. The AHL playoffs began with Rochester facing off against Syracuse and ultimately winning the series in five games. Then they swept the Toronto Marlies in three games.
The morning of Game 3 between Rochester and Hershey in the AHL semifinal, news came down at last: Johnson signed his entry-level deal with Buffalo. He was taken with the first-round pick acquired in the Ryan O’Reilly trade and he enters a situation with the Sabres organization that by all appearances is on the way up.
Even with the positivity surrounding the Sabres, the possibility of becoming a free agent is tempting, particularly when Johnson had a lot of people with a lot of opinions of what he should or shouldn't do with professional hockey future.
“There’s a lot of voices and a lot of influence come from different places—and I do really value those opinions and I value that the support—and other people are saying this stuff because they see something that maybe I don't feel, like I should come here for this reason or that,” Johnson said. “But, for me, I just spent time in myself. I know my own heart and I know what I want to do with my future, so at the end of the day, I want to be right in my own heart.”
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