Two more Buffalo Sabres prospects continue to get some postseason experience this time of the year. The playoffs in the CHL are underway and the NCAA tournament will begin this week. The Final Four will be held in Buffalo this year and although it may be a long shot, a Sabres prospect could have the chance to participate.
After losing in the Hockey East conference tournament; Providence and Jacob Bryson were questionable to get a spot in the NCAA tournament. With the benefit of a few conference tournament outcomes in college hockey, they picked up a spot.
The 2017 fourth-round pick and the Friars will open their tournament against the top-seed in the East Region, Minnesota State, on Saturday afternoon.
Bryson was named a second-team Hockey East All-Star last week and has had a solid Junior season. The left-shot defender has produced four goals and 25 points in 39 games for Providence this season. If he’s out early in the tournament it’ll be interesting if the Sabres try to sign him and get him in the system right away.
Providence D Jacob Bryson scored for the second consecutive game Friday as the Friars got past Maine 3-2 in OT. Bryson's 22 points (4+18) rank third among Hockey East D and t-20th overall among conference point-getters. #Sabres pic.twitter.com/TUVVjBcsYM— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) February 10, 2018
The other Sabres prospect participating in the playoffs is 2017 second-round pick Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. The Finnish goaltender has had an excellent season with the Sudbury Wolves. He’s been one of the best goalies in the OHL this season.
After posting a .920 save percentage in the regular season, the 20-year-old has backstopped the Wolves to a 3-0 series lead over the Mississauga Steelheads in the first round of the playoffs.
Great chance by the Steelheads in OT, but Luukkonen and the Wolves keep it out of the net pic.twitter.com/j2g56XIqUu— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) March 24, 2019
The Wolves went into the OHL playoffs as the four-seed. Goaltending is an important factor in the postseason and having arguably the best in the league could propel them to a long playoff run.
With Luukkonen we already know that he’ll begin his professional career next season. He’ll be an intriguing prospect to watch in the AHL with how this season has gone and his strong performance in the World Junior Championship.
We’ll try to keep you updated how the postseason goes for these players and the ones in Europe over the next few weeks.