Home NHL Sabres Take Finn Helenius With First Round Selection

Sabres Take Finn Helenius With First Round Selection


By Warren Kozireski —

After trading down three spots for an extra second round draft pick courtesy of San Jose, the Buffalo Sabres selected 5’11”, 189 lb. forward Konsta Helenius with the 14th overall selection in the first round of the 20204 NHL Entry Draft in Las Vegas.

In addition to his regular season with Jurkurit, Helenius played with both Finland U-18 and U-18 teams for a combined 94 game season. He is described as skilled and quick with a high compete level. The right-handed shot scored five power-play goals, won 50.2 percent of his face-offs, and averaged 16:57 of ice time in 51 games for Jukurit in Liiga, Finland’s top professional men’s league.

“It was a long season; I think I played really well.” Helenius said moments after being selected. “I think it was good for me to play against men because I like to play hard. I’m not the biggest guy, but I think I’m a very strong guy and it was good for me.

“I have older brothers and we fight when I was a kid, so that probably is one reason why I like to battle hard.

Helenius is known as responsible defensively and credits former NHLer and his coach Oli Jokinen.

“Biggest reason was my coach before every game that you need defense first and then you get the puck and you can do whatever you want. It was hard for me because I like to do a lot of things with the puck…but it was good for me too.”

“I know Oli well from we were teammates…and he spoke (to our staff) really, really highly of Konsta; his belief in him and the path he’s on,” Buffalo General Manager Kevyn Adams said.

“So much due diligence goes into these players before you make your pick and everything came back: high character, well liked by teammates, coaches love him, work ethic so all the stuff that we look for. So it’s an exciting player to add into our organization.

“This isn’t a fully developed player for sure, but you don’t play in the men’s league in Finland at 16 or whatever he was for the last year and a half without being able to handle yourself.

“I like the fact that, to me, he is a true center. We believe 100% that he’s a center and will be in the National Hockey League.”

(Photo by Koz, NY Hockey OnLine)