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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #20 Erik Portillo

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The Swede steps into the starting goalie role for Michigan this season

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 485 fans that ranked players under the age of 25 as of August 10, 2021. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.

Don’t assume that Erik Portillo is not doing well just because he’s dropping down the Top 25 Under 25 rankings here on DBTB from last season. If anything, remember the polls here are pretty subjective, the Sabres drafted a number of excellent prospects and Portillo didn’t get a chance to show off in the NCAA tournament last season.

The Swede is not your garden variety of big goaltender looking to fill up the net like an inflatable Michelin-man. Instead, Portillo is more of a hybrid that keeps a low stance that lets him show off ‘his agility and reflexes to make reactionary saves’ (Elite Prospects Rinkside contributor and Director of European Scouting Christoffer Hedlund is a big fan).

He goes on to describe the goalie (who turned 21 yesterday and is now legal to drink!) as having ‘good reflexes and can make incredible saves with his glove’, but also occasionally allows easy rebounds from glove saves. Still, he rarely gives up soft goals and has a decent hockey IQ, which is all you can ask for sometimes.

Portillo will be a sophomore this season at the University of Michigan where he will be the starting goaltender for the upcoming hockey season. He was very unfortunate along with a number of his teammates to not play in the 2021 NCAA Championship after Michigan and Notre Dame were removed from the tournament for having positive COVID tests within the Tier I testing group.

He will be playing with a high-flying trio of 2021 NHL Entry Draft top five draft picks, including overall #1 selection and Buffalo Sabres teammate defenseman Owen Power, and forwards Matty Beniers and Kent Johnson.

The youngster featured on an episode of the podcast of Trainwreck Sports’ ‘2 Goalies 1 Mic’ over the summer, and it’s well worth a listen.

#25 Casey Fitzgerald
#24 Aaron Huglen
#23 Linus Weissbach
#22 Aleksandr Kisakov
#21 Albert Lyckåsen