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Konsta Helenius Signs Entry-Level Contract with Sabres

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Konsta Helenius Buffalo Sabres signs entry-level contract

The Buffalo Sabres announced Monday that they have signed first-round draft pick Konsta Helenius to a three-year, entry-level contract. Helenius was selected 14th overall in the NHL Draft in Las Vegas at the end of June. He was the featured player throughout Sabres Development Camp, impressing media and fans in attendance alike.

Helenius signing an NHL deal opens up his options for teams to play for next season. He can return to Finland to play in their top league, Liiga, for Jukurit. He posted 14 goals and 36 points in 51 games as a 17-year-old against men last season.

The Sabres are expected to bring Helenius over to North America to have more control over his development. His refined, complete skillset could earn him a spot in the NHL next season, but he’s most likely to end up in AHL Rochester.

This would not be the first example in recent history of Buffalo starting an 18-year-old first-rounder in Rochester. Jiri Kulich did so after being drafted 28th overall in 2022. The Sabres can do the same with Helenius, who has a more well-rounded game at the same point in his career.

Helenius Joins Top Sabres Prospects

Helenius joins the Sabres organization immediately in the mix as their top prospect. With Zach Benson playing the full season in the NHL last season, Helenius, Kulich, Noah Ostlund, Isak Rosen, and Devon Levi highlight Buffalo’s stacked pipeline.

He also in a roundabout way helped facilitate the Sabres acquiring the third-line center they needed. Matthew Savoie was considered in the same company as Buffalo’s top prospects but was made more expendable with another addition to the pool. On Friday, he was consequently traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Ryan McLeod and prospect Tyler Tullio.

Must Read: Evaluating Newest Sabres Forward Ryan McLeod

If you’re curious about how steep the jump from Liiga to the NHL is, players making the leap score about 43% of the points in the NHL as they do in Finland. Since Helenius scored at an 82-game pace of about 58 points in Liiga, that translates to 25 points in the NHL. For comparison, Benson registered 30 points in his 18-year-old rookie season in the NHL.

The Sabres do not have to rush Helenius, with 13 forwards already slotted in on their current roster. Rather, they’ll likely adjust him to the North American ice and develop his offensive skills in Rochester for a season or two. With a handful of quality forward prospects ready to push for NHL jobs, the Sabres will be better off for it.

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