Buffalo Sabres: The top-10 players under 24, part one

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Finland. Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Finland. Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Sabres
Tage Thompson, Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /

10. Tage Thompson (21), right wing, 1st round, 26th overall (trade with St. Louis)

Acquired by the Sabres in the Ryan O’Reilly trade, Tage Thompson has already played in 106 games before his 22nd birthday. At the present time, Thompson projects to a bottom-six role, with some offensive upside. That is somewhat of a disappointment considering he was a cornerstone of the Blues trade.

At 6-5, 205 pounds, he has the build of an NHL power forward. The former UConn Huskies star is just as comfortable crashing the net as he is unleashing a wicked shot. He has the skills however to be a source of secondary scoring. To reach his potential, Thompson will have to improve his skating.

9. Mattias Samuelsson (19), Defenseman, 2018 2nd round, 32nd overall

Opinions vary on the Western Michigan University sophomore to be. He’ll never be a true offensive threat because he doesn’t create shots for himself. Last year he scored just 12 points in 35 games for the Broncos. There are other ways to succeed in the game. Samuelson is throwback defensive defenseman. The big 6-4, 220 pound bruiser uses his big body to clear the crease.

Samuelsson, to put it gently, is a raw prospect. There are several developmental areas, he’ll need to work on at WMU. First, he may be steady on his feet, but he is slow and awkward at times. That will be a problem when he turns pro. Next, Samuelson has issues with keeping himself out of the sin bin. Last season, he greatly cut down on his penalty minutes, that must continue going forward.