Chad Johnson was originally apart of a tank trade. Michal Neuvirth was standing on his head last season for the team, and was traded to the Islanders. The Isles sent Johnson back to the Sabres mainly as a throw in. He was thought of as one of the lesser backup goalies in the NHL. This year, he's turned that thought upside down.
Johnson is closer to being thought of as a starting goalie, or a high level backup. With Robin Lehner being injured for the majority of this season, Johnson has taken his chance to shine, and ran with it. Statistically he's making a case to be a starting goalie in the NHL.
Save percentage is the most accurate way to judge how good a goalie is. Johnson, has had a very good year in that respect. Even compared to some star goalies.
For save percentage Johnson is 11th in the NHL among goalies that played at least half their games. That isn't just a starting goalie level, that's a quality starting goalie.
Johnson's numbers look even more impressive with 5 on 5 save percentage, once again edging out the likes of Quick and Rask. The big difference is Johnson makes more than $6 million less than them.
I'm not advocating Johnson start over Robin Lehner, who actually beats him in every category, but with Lehner's injury history, it would be wise to have Johnson ready to go.
Some will argue Linus Ullmark is ready to be the backup, and he is. However, he is developing still, and at this point it would benefit him more to be playing night in and night out in Rochester. Besides, Johnson probably gives you better performance next year anyways.
What kind of contract will Johnson want? He'll certaintly want a pay raise, maybe around the $2.5 million mark. What term will he want though? If I'm the Sabres I really want him back on a 1 year deal, but would be open to a 2 year deal.
Anyway you look at it, it benefits the Sabres if Chad Johnson is back in blue and gold next season.