California Rubber

California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Irvine native, longtime Jr. Ducks standout Johnson signs NHL contract with Sabres


After spending four years playing for the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team, Ryan Johnson has inked his first professional contract, a two-year, entry-level deal with the Buffalo Sabres.

The 2019 first-round pick (31st overall) of the Sabres will report to the AHL’s Rochester Americans where the Amerks are tied 1-1 with the Hershey Bears in the AHL’s Eastern Conference Finals.

Johnson served as an alternate captain this season for the Golden Gophers and reached the NCAA national championship game behind a career-best four goals, including the first game winner of his career at Notre Dame (Jan. 14) to go with 14 assists and 18 total points.

A native of Irvine, he guided the Maroon and Gold to its second-straight NCAA Frozen Four appearance during the 2022-23 campaign and led the team with 64 blocked shots, finishing his career blocking more than 200 shots. He earned a spot on the All-Big Ten Honorable Mention Team as a senior and was given the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. Johnson also was a nominee for the Hockey Humanitarian Award Nominee and landed on the Academic All-Big Ten Team for the third time as a Gopher.

Johnson made 143 appearances during his four years of college hockey and recorded 59 career points on nine goals and 50 assists. He helped Minnesota reach the NCAA Tournament three times over his time on campus, along with back-to-back regular-season Big Ten Conference titles and a B1G Tournament championship in 2021.

Back home, Johnson played for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Santa Margarita Catholic High School.

Photo/Bryce Hemmelgarn

(May 27, 2023)

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