Luukkonen, 19, was selected 54th-overall in last year’s draft and spent this season playing in the Finnish second league where he recorded a .909 save percentage. He also suited up in the World Junior Championship, but was unable to carry Finland to a medal performance. The big, mobile netminder is built like the prototypical goalie prospect and should have a long professional career ahead of him. Still, he’ll have to find some more consistency before really making an impact for the Sabres.
Where he plays next season is still unclear, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Luukkonen stay in Finland for at least one more season (if not several). The Sabres obviously want to get him into their system, but throwing a teenaged-goaltender into the fire of the AHL is rarely a good development strategy. With Linus Ullmark set to jump to the NHL level and Robin Lehner still part of the organization, there is no reason to rush their young prospect. Instead, they can let him mature into the goaltender they hope he can be, which by all accounts could be a legitimate NHL starter.