CHICAGO - The Buffalo Sabres selected five players on the second day of the 2017 NHL Draft at United Center in Chicago. These five selections join Buffalo's first-round pick, forward Casey Mittelstadt, to complete the team's 2017 draft class, which includes three forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender.
Video: 2017 NHL Draft Day 2 Recap
Center - Djurgardens/SHL
(Round 2, 37th overall)
Ranked 12th among draft-eligible European-based skaters by NHL Central Scouting, the Huddinge, Sweden native recorded nine points (5+4) in 45 games with Djurgardens in Sweden's top professional league last season.
He added 10 points (6+4) in nine games with Djurgardens' junior team in 2016-17, one year after earning the league's playoff MVP honors while helping lead the club to a championship.
"Davidsson has a nice, mature 2-way game that coaches will love," head amateur scout Jeff Crisp said. "He's a 200-foot player, plays center and wing. He played in the highest division in Sweden as an 18-year-old boy so we were impressed with that."
He clocked in at No. 31 in Kris Baker's Top 31 countdown. Here's Bakes' take:
Marcus Davidsson is a gritty two-way worker who has the look of an opportunistic middle-line pivot when ready to graduate to the North American ranks. When on his game, Davidsson brings loads of speed and energy while causing chaos in front of the opposing goal.
Davidsson parlayed a nice showing last August at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp into a solid year with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He played 45 games with DIF's top club, scoring five goals and nine points while averaging 11:12 of time on ice. He also received work with DIF's J20 team, scoring six goals and 10 points in nine games.
Video: Jason Botterill after the 2017 NHL Draft
Goaltender - HPK Jr./Finland-Jr.
(Round 2, 54th overall - From Minnesota)
Luukkonen checked in at 6-foot-4, 197 pounds at the NHL Combine. He was Central Scouting's No. 1 European-based goaltender heading into the Draft.
"He fills the net out there. There's not much to shoot at when he's in the net," Crisp said. "He's had some great games for Finland over the last two years we've been tracking him. He's a big guy that we think has enough talent to be an NHL goalie someday. "
He was the second goaltender featured in our Goaltenders episode of Prospect Avenue:
Video: Prospect Avenue: Goaltenders
Kris Baker on Luukkonen, from his "Next Baker's Dozen" feature:
Luukkonen offers a drafting club a huge, athletic netminder that, with more coaching and technique refinements, has all the signs of developing into a legitimate No. 1 NHL goaltender.
He led HPK Jr and Finland's Junior League with a 1.78 goals-against average in the regular season and a 2.01 in the playoffs en route to a league championship. Internationally, Luukkonen backstopped Finland to a silver medal at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship. He's also represented his country at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and at the 2016 Under 18s, where he was named to the tournament All-Star team after winning gold.
From his media availability in Chicago, courtesy of Sabres.com's Jourdon LaBarber:
"Of course it's a great situation to have when you know there's space for you to fit in," he said. "You know there's something to work for … I think it's a great situation for me."
Luukkonen describes himself as calm and level-headed, a trait he says he picked up from his parents. He saw his older brother and cousin playing goalie at a young age and fell in love with the position, all the way down to the pads and glove. He played goalie in street hockey for as long as he can remember, and was between the pipes on the ice by age 5 or 6.
He grew up watching Ryan Miller, although Pekka Rinne - another Finnish goalie - is his idol. He also has an affection, as most young Finns do, for Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. He fondly remembers Ristolainen's golden goal at the World Junior Championship in 2014.
Video: Meet Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
Defenseman - Ilves Jr./Finland-Jr.
(Round 3, 89th overall - From Washington)
The right-shot Finnish defenseman posted nine points (6+3) in 27 games for Ilves Jr. last season.
"He's a good defenseman that's very mobile, likes to pass the puck, move the puck," Crisp said. "He's a late bloomer that's coming along nice. Our scouts there tracked him for the last two years so we know him well. He's just a good player that we trust will develop over the next two years into a puck-moving defenseman."
We'll have to recheck his vitals when he gets to Buffalo for Development Camp in July since he wasn't here at the Draft. He really must've had some kind of growth spurt.
Video: Jeff Crisp on the Class of 2017
Defenseman - Providence/Hockey East
(Round 4, 99th overall)
The Sabres added another defenseman with the No. 99 pick in Round 4, this time selecting Jacob Bryson of Providence College. Bryson scored 20 points (3+17) in 39 games as a freshman last season.
The pick earned praise from Amerks defenseman Anthony Florentino, who paired with Bryson for the Friars last season.
Bryson, listed at 5-feet-9-inches tall and 185 pounds, continues the trend of Buffalo looking to add fast, skating defensemen. The Sabres have done so both in their pro acquisitions (Victor Antipin and Nathan Beaulieu) and on Day 2 of the Draft (Oskari Laaksonen.)
Bryson has described himself as a "fast, smart, offensive defenseman," listing smaller defensemen such as Ryan Ellis of Nashville and Torrey Krug of Boston as inspirations.
Left Wing - Tri-City/USHL
(7th Round, 192nd Overall)
With their final pick of the Draft, Buffalo went with Linus Weissbach, a forward with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL.
Weissbach led Tri-City in goals (19), assists (28) and points (47) in his first North American season in 2016-17, one year after ranking third in Sweden's top junior league with 31 assists and 48 points as a member of Frölunda.