The Buffalo Sabres announced this morning that they’ve signed 2017 third-round pick Oskari Laaksonen to a three-year entry-level contract. The 20-year-old defenseman played the last three years for Ilves of the Finnish pro-league Liiga.
Laaksonen is an intersting prospect for the Sabres blue line. He had a great 2018-19 season in Finland and was a key part of Team Finland winning a Gold Medal in the 2019 World Junior Championship. This past season, however, he took a step back. He battled injuries the entire year and struggled at times.
WATCH: Oskari Laaksonen jumps into open space on the power play and pops the water bottle for his first goal of the year. pic.twitter.com/VlWR7clSVJ— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) September 14, 2019
He needs to add some more size to his frame and could use some work on his game defensively. Laaksonen does have some offensive upside, skates well, and is good in transition.
The right-shot defender will join what appears to be a rather young blue line being put together in the AHL. The Amerks could have Laaksonen, 2018 second-round pick Mattias Samuelsson, and Jacob Bryson as the key pieces of the defense group whenever next season gets underway.