When you’re an impending free agent on the league’s worst team, you think about your future a lot. When you’re an under-utilized and ineffective member of the league’s worst team, you begin to consider the limits on that future. Such is the case for Buffalo forward Jacob Josefson. With four points in 39 games for the Sabres, who hold a measly 25-42-12 record with three games remaining in the season, Josefson has been a non-factor for a team that has been begging for someone to break out all season long. Now, it seems that Josefson has recognized his ceiling as a professional hockey player and may return home to Sweden this off-season to continue his career.
Josefson, 27, was once a promising young player in the NHL. Drafted in the first round in 2009 by the New Jersey Devils out of Djurgardens of the Swedish Hockey League, Josefson made the jump overseas in 2010 and recorded ten points in 28 games as a rookie. Josefson continued as a part-time player until 2014-15 when he would play 62 games with the Devils. He followed that up with a career-high 14 points in 2015-16. Yet, that campaign also came with a —21 rating. Frustrated that Josefson was nowhere close to the caliber of player they expected out of a first-rounder, New Jersey allowed him to walk in free agency last summer. The best deal that Josefson could scrounge up was a one-year, $700K contract with the Sabres. After another disappointing season, opportunities in the NHL are running out for the underwhelming two-way forward.
Yet, a new opportunity could be emerging with his old Swedish squad. Sweden’s Hockey News reports (link in Swedish) that Djurgardens has reached out to Josefson, a “dream acquisition”, and he is considering a return to where it all began. Josefson was a far more dynamic player as a teenager in Sweden than he ever was at any level in North America and would return home to much fanfare from his former team. However, if Josefson bails on the NHL this off-season, especially if there are offers out there, it would more than likely mark the end of his NHL career.