To close out the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Buffalo Sabres will make the No.31 pick.
The pick originally belonged to the 2019 Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues but was dealt to Buffalo as a part of the Ryan O’Reilly trade.
Buffalo also owns the No.7 overall pick in the draft and I have them taking centre Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades (WHL). Adding a centre to play behind Jack Eichel is a big need for the Sabres. Having checked that box earlier, Buffalo will likely look to add more skill to their blueline with their second first-round pick.
With the No.31 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres select…
Lassi Thomson — D — Finland
The Sabres blueline has bright future with Rasmus Dahlin, Brandon Montour and Rasmus Ristolainen but they need to continue to add to it. They don’t come more skilled than Dahlin, but Thomson oozes offensive ability as well. The Finnish defenseman came to North America for his draft year, scoring 17 goals with 24 assists (41 points) in 63 games with the Kelowna Rockets (WHL). After just one year in the WHL, Thomson will return to Finland to play with Ilves of the Finnish Liiga.
Thomson isn’t overly large (6-foot, 190 lbs.) but has a cannon from the point that will be a huge asset on an NHL power-play. He is also a very smart player that skates extremely well, allowing him to move the puck up the ice in a variety of ways. His defensive-zone play still needs some polishing but the offensive skill is too high to ignore. The Sabres are no strangers to drafting Finnish-born players and Thomson seems to fit a big need for them.
There are a lot of positive attributes in his game. He has an absolute rocket from the point that can beat goalies clean, as well as generate opportunities around the net. He can move the puck very well with his brain and feet. His puck game is good, showing the ability to generate clean exists and entries, stretch the ice on breakouts, and showing confidence with the puck. He can at times make high-end plays with his poise and vison, but he also tends to be too cute with the puck and play without urgency, leading to costly turnovers. — Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
Skilled two-way defenseman with above average offensive tools. Thomson is a fluid skater and moves the puck well up the ice. Not a bad passer, but stands out more with his slapper from the blue line. — Elite Prospects
- #28 — HockeyProspect.com
- #48 — Future Considerations
- #38 — ISS Hockey
- #15 — NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
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