(Buffalo) The Buffalo Sabers ended a long wait Saturday by signing defenseman Ryan Johnson to a two-year first professional contract.

The deal came more than a month after Johnson completed his final college season with the University of Minnesota Gophers of the NCAA.

Johnson will immediately report to the Rochester Americans, the Sabers’ AHL farm club. The Americans advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hershey Bears.

This series is equal to a victory for each side and the third game takes place tonight, in Rochester.

Hailing from Southern California, Johnson is six feet tall and weighs 170 pounds. He was selected 31st overall in the 2019 draft.

Good at carrying the puck, a facet that fits well with the Sabres’ style of play, Johnson finished his college career with nine goals and 59 points in 143 games. He has scored four goals and 18 points in 40 games this season.

The 21-year-old Johnson had the option of waiting until August. He would then have become an unrestricted free agent and he could have signed a contract with any NHL team.

Because Johnson was a first-round pick, the Sabers would have been compensated with a second-round pick in 2024 had Johnston signed anywhere other than Buffalo.