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The Buffalo Sabres have signed center Konsta Helenius to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Monday. 

The Sabres selected Helenius with the 14th-overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft last month. He is the first member of Buffalo’s 2024 draft class to sign his entry-level contract.

Helenius had 36 points (14+22) in 51 games last season in Finland’s top professional league (Liiga). The Ylojarvi, Finland native’s 36 points for Jukurit marked the fourth-highest single-season total by an under-18 player in Liiga history, behind current NHL forwards Aleksander Barkov, Mikael Granlund, and Kaapo Kakko.

Get to know Helenius' game!

Helenius’ performance earned him a spot on Finland’s team at the IIHF World Championship in May, which began the day before his 18th birthday. He recorded one assist and a plus-2 rating in four games as the youngest player in the tournament while playing against a number of NHL players.

Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said Helenius was in the top 10 on the team’s draft board, so the group was excited to see how things played out at the draft. Adams and his amateur scouting staff believe that the “true centerman” could be ready for pro hockey very soon.

“We see a winning hockey player,” Adams said. “Someone who’s going to play center for us and help us win hockey games.”

Konsta Helenius addresses the media

Helenius made his first appearance in a Sabres uniform at Development Camp this past week. It was there that the Sabres development staff and Rochester Americans coaches got their first look at the forward’s vision and ability to evade pressure in person.

“The first thing that stands out is the hockey sense,” Amerks assistant coach Vinny Prospal said. “When you see him, especially in the small-area games, you can really see that he’s got above average hockey sense compared to some of these players that we have on the ice right now.”

Sabres director of player development Adam Mair was also impressed by the 18-year-old’s talent.

“I think he’s very smooth,” Mair said. “I think you saw that in the last drill, just his ability to evade pressure. He’s got really good hands. He’s got vision, he can make plays.”

On the final day of camp, prospects were split between three teams for the annual 3v3 tournament. Helenius scored three goals for Team Perreault during the event, including the game-winning shootout goal in Game 1 and the game winner in Game 3 to help lead his team to the championship game. Helenius and Team Perreault won their final game 5-0 over Team Robert to earn the tournament trophy.

“It was a fun week,” Helenius said following the championship win. “A lot of good players, so it was fun to be on the ice and see the players.”