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For Jonas Johansson and his NHL career, nowhere to go but up



Jonas Johansson

Jonas Johansson said he doesn’t like to look back too much in his career. That’s probably a good thing.

His career with the Buffalo Sabres didn’t go so well. He went 1-8-2, with a 3.40 goals-against average and .888 saves percentage. A longtime Sabres media beat writer said he was the “worst goalie” he’d seen in his 19 years covering the team. The Sabres gave him to the Avalanche for a sixth-round pick in 2021.

Jonas Johansson, 25, smiled and had an upbeat demeanor when he met the Avs media via Zoom Sunday. He is the new Avs backup goalie behind Philipp Grubauer, and he might get his first start on Tuesday night in Arizona against the Coyotes. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Swede, drafted in the third round in 2014, is more than ready for a change in his career.

“I’m trying to look at the future here,” he said. “What’s been happening has been happening, but I think only good things are going to come from this. I try not to look back too much. I’m thankful for my time in Buffalo, but I’m excited to start new things here and I’m real excited to get to work here.”

The Sabres are again a last-place team this season. Johansson wasn’t a bit part of the team, but he was there and when asked about what went wrong there, he said:

“When it comes to a point where the team is losing a lot, sometimes it’s hard to break that circle,” Johansson said. “As a goalie you can only look at yourself. I try to take care of my part and give my team a chance to win. That’s really the only thing I can focus on, to play my game as best I can and try and give the team a chance. Sometimes you get a win, sometimes you don’t. The only thing I can focus on is giving the team a chance. That’s what I’ve been doing and what I’m going to keep doing.”

Johansson was an AHL all-star last season with the Rochester Americans, going 14-4-3 with a .921 saves percentage. That performance is probably where the Avs are most hanging their hat that better things could be coming. In the NHL, there is nowhere to go but up.

“We’re looking forward to getting him in the fold,” Jared Bednar said. “We’ll get him in here and see what he can do, get him into a couple practices.”

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