With the 41st pick in the 2022 NHL draft, the Buffalo Sabres select goalie Topias Leinonen from the JYP U20 team in the Finnish junior league.
The 6’5 goalie was the #1 ranked goalie by Central Scouting and posted a .916 sv% in his U20 SM-sarja league play and a .897 sv% in his five u18 games for Finland.
From Jason Bukala at Sportsnet:
“The top-ranked goalie in Europe for NHL Central Scouting. The obvious is his stature, 6-foot-5, 207 pounds. He’s a big body goalie who takes up the net. His play in the tournament was mostly solid. He is at his best in a structured format. When his team plays lost in their zone he tends to follow suit and kicks pucks back out into scoring areas or allows a goal he would like to have back. The kid has all the tools, but he will need time. He could be the first goalie off the board in Montreal. A team with multiple picks in the second round could roll the dice.”
From a Sabres perspective it does signal the alarm on at least one of the goalies in the NCAA. I anticipate that one of them, most likely Portillo, will be on the move at some point in the offseason.
The Leinonen pick is the first of eight on the board for the Sabres, and the first goaltender picked overall in the draft thus far.