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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25, #25: Miska Kukkonen

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Finnish defender Miska Kukkonen kicks off the 2019 top 25 under 25 rankings

2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of six staff writers and over 500 readers that ranked players under the age of 25 by September 1st, 2019. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.

We kick off our annual top 25 under 25 Buffalo Sabres rankings with 2018 fifth-round pick Miska Kukkonen. The Finnish defender has the potential to be another one of those late-round finds for Jason Botterill.

He had a strong post-draft season playing in Finland. It earned him the opportunity to get a call up to play for Lukko in the Liiga playoffs at the end of last season. He played majority of last season for Tappara’s U20 team in the junior league, scoring eight points in 29 games.

Kukkonen moves well on the ice and is solid in his own end. He’s also a smart player that shows potential to turn into a nice piece for the Sabres down the road. He’ll be an interesting player to follow next season in Europe.

Outside, Looking In

Since this is the first player we released I’ll quickly mention the three players that just missed the cut. In order of rank, those three were Filip Cederqvist, Linus Cronholm and Aaron Huglen.

Cederqvist and Huglen were both selected in this past draft. Cronholm, on the other hand, was selected in the 2018 draft.

Personally, I’m surprised he didn’t crack the top 25. He had a really nice 2018-19 season and is in consideration to be on Sweden’s U20 World Junior team this year. He was ranked 25th by the staff, but didn’t get the same love in the fan vote.

We’ll be releasing the full player rankings throughout the month August as we slowly creep towards training camp in September.