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CHL import draft raises questions about Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s development path

Luukkonen was selected third overall by the Sudbury Wolves in the CHL import draft yesterday

2017 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

An interesting development took place yesterday during the CHL import draft that had a direct impact on the Buffalo Sabres and one of their prospects.

The Sudbury Wolves of the OHL selected Sabres goaltending prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen third overall in the import draft.

Using such a high pick on the 2017 second-round pick could indicate the Wolves have an idea that Luukkonen and the Sabres would be open to the goaltender continuing to develop in North America.

The 19-year-old recently signed his entry-level contract with the Sabres a little over two weeks ago. It was expected he would return to Finland and then come to North America for the 2019-20 season.

Yesterday’s news could change some things with his development plan. The Sabres could elect to keep him here and allow him to get used to playing on the smaller ice.

On the flip side, with how Sabres general manager Jason Botterill has handled selecting Canadian-junior players (or not selecting) in the draft. You’d have to wonder if he wants his top goaltending prospect behind Linus Ullmark to play in that league.

Luukkonen returning to Finland to play in Liiga for HPK allows him to face better shooters and more difficult competition full of professional hockey players.

We’ll see if we can get an indication from Luukkonen or Botterill what the plan for the goaltender is next season after development camp wraps up.


Where should Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen play next season?

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  • 34%
    (347 votes)
  • 17%
    OHL (Sudbury)
    (176 votes)
  • 47%
    Liiga (Finland)
    (475 votes)
998 votes total Vote Now