The Buffalo Sabres signed defenseman Oskari Laaksonen to a three-year entry-level contract. This contract carries him through the 2022-23 season.
We have signed defenseman Oskari Laaksonen to a three-year, entry-level contract.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) June 15, 2020
Buffalo Sabres Sign Oskari Laaksonen
Over his three-year Liiga career, Laaksonen has played for Ilves. He has put up five goals and 35 assists for 40 career points in 113 career games. Originally, Laaksonen was drafted in the third round, 89th overall of the 2017 NHL draft by the Buffalo Sabres.
Last season he scored two goals and ten assists for twelve points. Also, Laaksonen added 14 minutes in penalties. The entry-level deal allows Buffalo to gain some much-needed depth for a team that has struggled to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in recent seasons.
Sabres General manager Jason Botterill says in a team press release, “The work Oskari has put in to improve his game has paid off during his last two seasons. His success on the international stage and what he’s done as a 19- and 20-year-old playing in a professional league is impressive.”
What This Means for the Future
Laaksonen is unlikely be an impact player for the Buffalo Sabres right away. He will most likely need development with the Rochester Americans before making the jump to the NHL. Laaksonen might not be the highest-ranked player, but he is a solid option for the Sabres to move forward in developing their roster.
Laaksonen still needs to develop more, but he does have an impressive resume in Liiga. He ends his Liiga career with a minus five plus/minus rating. Laaksonen also won a gold medal with Finland in the 2019 World Junior Championships.
Laaksonen will most likely play in the AHL to develop experience. However, once the Sabres organization deems him as competent for NHL play, he has a good chance at making the roster. Laaksonen would add much-needed depth at defence to a team that allowed 3.12 goals against per game in 2019-20.
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