The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. six writers and 718 readers ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2018 in the Buffalo Sabres organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
We continue our rankings with the Sabres’ 2018 second-round pick, Swedish-American defenseman, Mattias Samuelsson. With a great deal of talent left on the board at the top of round two, Buffalo continued to strengthen their organizational depth on the blue line with a player who was ranked as the 21st-overall North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting.
At 6-foot-4, 218-pounds, Samuelsson is a rangy, two-way defensive prospect with an outstanding skill set in his own end. His smooth skating ability and vision help him contribute on offense as well. His style of play is quite similar to that of his father, Kjell Samuelsson who played 13 seasons in the NHL as a member of the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.
One aspect of his game that scouts consistently mention is his overall grit. He uses his physical prowess to over-match his opponents while still playing a defensively responsible game. If he can reach his full potential, the Sabres may have found a long-term partner for Rasmus Dahlin (or at the very least, a strong two-way presence in the top-four).
Samuelsson also figures into Jason Botterill’s cultural overhaul. During the World Junior Under-18 Championship in Russia last season, he served as the captain of the silver medal-winning Team USA squad.
#U18: USA rallies to tie Finland 3-3 on this PPG by LHD Mattias Samuelsson (Ranked No. 51). LW Joel Farabee (Ranked No. 18) has a goal & 2 assists, and RW Oliver Wahlstrom (Ranked No. 22) has a pair of helpers. Finland's RW Arttu Nevasaari (Ranked No. 108) has 2g, including a SHG pic.twitter.com/ECagDq81xO— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) November 11, 2017
As a member of the U.S. National Under-18 Team, he notched 14 points in 23 games last year in the USHL. In 2018-19, he will join his older brother Lukas at Western Michigan University. Time will tell just how many seasons he spends in the NCAA. At 18 years old, he already has a relatively polished game, and he could graduate to the AHL ranks sooner than you might think.
Samuelsson is coming off a strong showing for Team USA at the World Junior Showcase this past week and gave fans a small glimpse of the type of sound defensive player he could become.