While we’re about three weeks out from the playoffs beginning in the NHL, the postseason has begun in other leagues around the world. We know the Buffalo Sabres won’t be part of the playoffs again this season, so we’ll have to get our kicks following their prospects around the world.
Four Sabres prospects have begun their postseason overseas in the SHL in Sweden and Liiga in Finland.
One of the players to keep a particularly close eye on is 2017 second-round pick Marcus Davidsson. The 20-year-old is one game into his playoff series, with Djurgarden, the fourth-seed in the SHL playoffs. They are facing five-seed Skelleftea in their quarterfinals matchup.
Skelleftea picked up the victory with a 2-0 win in Game 1 yesterday. Davidsson had two shots and played 12:19. If Djurgarden is eliminated in this round, it’ll be interesting to see if the Sabres try to get Davidsson over to North America right away. They’ll likely follow the same path with him as they did with Rasmus Asplund last year.
The other prospect taking part in the SHL playoffs is 2018 fourth-round pick Linus Cronholm. The 18-year-old was promoted to Malmo late in the season after a strong rookie season in the Allsvenskan league.
Malmo is the sixth-seed in the playoffs matching up against the third-seed Frolunda, the former team of Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. Frolunda took Game 1 yesterday with a 4-0 victory. Cronholm had one shot on goal and played 13:43 in the opening game.
Cronholm will be a prospect to watch over the summer. He may get some consideration for the 2020 Sweden U-20 World Junior team.
Oskari Laaksonen has had a brief and unfortunate experience in the Liiga playoffs this season. His club Ilves is down 2-0 in their series against top seed Karpat. Laaksonen returned from an injury in Game 2 yesterday, but it was brief. He was hit from behind on a dirty hit from Oskar Osala.
#Sabres prospect Oskari Laaksonen may have been injured again after this dirty hit from Oskar Osala who was ejected from the game. #Ilves #Liiga pic.twitter.com/omvZg7bw8n— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) March 23, 2019
He didn’t return to the game after the hit and his season could be over if he doesn’t play in the near future. Ilves has a tough matchup and it could be a short series. Laaksonen will likely play in Finland next season before coming over to North America the following year.
Miska Kukkonen is the other player participating in the Liiga playoffs. Like Cronholm, he was promoted to Liiga late in the season. The 2018 fifth-round pick is two games into his playoff series with Lukko. They’re up against the second-seed Tappara and also trail 2-0.
Kukkonen played 14:46 in the 3-2 defeat yesterday.
Stay tuned for an updated on the Sabres prospects that are in their postseason in North America coming soon.