Marcus Davidsson, a Buffalo Sabres draft pick from 2017, has terminated his contract with the Vaxjo Lakers of the SHL. Davidsson wasn’t seeing much ice time with the team and will instead look for an opportunity elsewhere. According to a report out of Sweden, that’s expected to be alongside his brother Jonathan Davidsson with Vasterviks IK. That Davidsson, originally a Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick, is under contract with the Ottawa Senators but is expected to be loaned to the Allsvenskan team.
The Sabres’ Davidsson was the 37th pick in the 2017 draft, and though still just 21, has a lot of work to do if he wants to one day play in the NHL. The forward had just 13 points in 31 games for Vaxjo last season, and a single assist in 12 matches this year. With dwindling ice time he’ll try to get things turned around in the lower league, as he approaches an important threshold in his career.
On June 1, 2021, Davidsson’s draft rights with the Sabres will expire, making him an unrestricted free agent if he does not have an entry-level contract by then. It’s very rare to see players selected so high go unsigned, but it is a possibility in this case if Davidsson wants to stay overseas to continue his development. Of course, the two sides could reach an agreement to sign his ELC and then be loaned back to Sweden, should they agree that he’s not ready (or willing) to play in the AHL.
There was a time where Davidsson looked like a sure thing for NHL duty down the road. In 2017-18 he recorded 21 points in just 39 games with Djurgardens IF of the SHL, an outstanding total for someone so young. He followed it up with another good season for the team in 2018-19, before a move to Vaxjo seemed to derail his performance. Perhaps a reunion with his brother, who was on those Djurgardens teams himself, will spark a resurgence from the Buffalo draft pick.