The Buffalo Sabers announced Saturday that they have signed 2019 first-round pick Ryan Johnson to a two-year entry-level contract. Johnson will report to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.
Johnson is coming off a four-year stint in the NCAA at the University of Minnesota. Last season, Johnson had 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) and a plus-22 differential, which was a career high for him and ranked him 13th among NCAA defensemen.
The Irvine, Calif. product appeared in 143 games throughout his four-year tenure in the NCAA; he had nine goals and 50 assists for 59 points during that span. In the 2020-21 NCAA season, the Golden Gophers won the CNAA Championship (B1G); Johnson was named an NCAA (B1G) Honorable Mention All-Star and three consecutive selections to the NCAA (B1G) Academic Team. That same year, he won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2021 World Junior Championship on a roster that included Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras, Minnesota Wild forward Matt Boldy, Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield, and more.
Before making the jump to the NCAA, Johnson played in the USA Hockey League with the Sioux Falls Stampede and recorded 25 points in 54 games, adding eight more points in 12 playoff games as the Stampede won the USHL Clark Cup. Johnson was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team.
Johnson’s father Craig played 557 NHL games with the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs. He is now an assistant coach with the Ducks organization.
Johnson will report to Rochester, where the Americans are tied 1-1 with the Hershey Bears in the AHL Eastern Conference Finals. The best-of-seven series returns to Rochester for Game 3 on Saturday.