By Erica Whyte
Victor Olofsson finished the season as Rochester’s leader in goals (30), assists (33), and points (63) through 66 games with the Amerks, and notched four points (2+2) in six games in his first call up with the Buffalo Sabres.
Not too bad for a seventh-rounder’s inaugural year of North American hockey.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t get it to work here in the playoffs, which was our main goal, but overall I think we had a great season,” the 23-year-old Swede said on locker cleanout day. “It’s been a very good season for me, I learned a lot, it’s been a good experience. Everything was kind of new for me when I first got here, so I’ve just been learning a lot and growing, both as a person and as a player.”
It didn’t take long for the 5-foot-11 forward to make an impact at the AHL level. After posting an AHL-best 15 points (5+10) in the first 10 games of the season, Olofsson was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for October.
WATCH: VICTOR OLOFSSON YEAR-END INTERVIEW
But according to Amerks head coach Chris Taylor, the winger’s game didn’t really take off until halfway through the season.
“By Christmas he was getting better and better. And after Christmas, he became a different person and a different player,” said Taylor. “I just thought his development was really, really good.”
“His 200-foot game really helped. He learned that, and how to use his body, because he’s a strong kid,” Taylor continued. “He’s really strong on his skates. He creates a lot of separation for himself, he learned to play defense and he was on the penalty kill at the end of the year for us because he’s a very smart player.”
A smart player with two equally gifted linemates. Alongside fellow first-year Swede Rasmus Asplund and Danny O’Regan, the trio netted 60 goals between them – accounting for a quarter of Rochester’s total scoring this season – and they had a blast doing so.
WATCH: VICTOR OLOFSSON 1-ON-1 WITH ERICA WHYTE
“We were really close friends, all three of us. We just had so much fun out there all year. It was super easy to play with those guys,” said Olofsson of the Amerks top offensive line, who could constantly be seen talking and laughing on-ice together. “They’re such skilled guys and I think all of us like to play with the puck a lot, which makes it a lot easier.”
As for his summer plans? Olofsson will be focusing on developing his size and speed, with the hopes of earning a full-time spot on the Sabres roster.
“I’ll probably work on everything. My main focus is to become a little stronger and faster, to help me get to that next level,” he said. “My main goal is to play in the NHL.”