The Sabres picked a relative unknown in the third round, taking Finnish defenseman Oskari Laaksonen. He’s not ranked in scouting reports and no one seems to know who he is, which seems rather odd for a player taken so high.
A 17-year-old, Laaksonen spent a majority of last season in the Jr. A SM-liiga, scoring six goals and three assists in 27 games. He also spent some time in Jr. B, notching 10 assists in 10 games. Two years ago he scored seven goals and 18 assists in 48 Jr. B games.
Marco Bombino, who covers Finnish Jr. Hockey, gave us a bit of a scouting report when he tweeted: “#Sabres pick Oskari Laaksonen 89th overall. Played for #Ilves U18/U20. Gifted puck mover with great vision, good long-term upside.”
He’ll need to put on some weight if he hopes to make it to the league, as he currently is 6’1” and 165 lbs. according to the central registry.
He may not be high in the scouting charts, but new Sabres GM Jason Botterill is known for drafting well and finding gems, so we may just need to trust him on this one.