If there is a guy who has really stood out the first couple days of Sabres Development Camp its Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who was sporting neon orange pads over the weekend.
The netminder’s color scheme is that of the team he plays for overseas but, kidding aside the netminder truly has shined at camp.
At 6-feet 4-inches he's a big body in the blue paint and, showcased quickness and cat-like reflexes in the crease during drills, earning praise from fans who, despite near perfect weather outside in Buffalo, packed the house at HarborCenter to catch a glimpse of the future of the franchise.
Even for a practice, Luukkonen said he's not really used to seeing as many fans in the stands as he saw this weekend.
"It was great to see so many, so many people watching the practice. Usually in Finland it's not really that popular especially on the junior teams where I play,” he said. “There aren't that many people watching you play the games, so it was great to see that were so many spectators at the practice."
Luukkonen was a second-round selection of the Sabres in June’s draft, and was the number one ranked European goalie according to the NHL Central Scouting rankings.
Development camp is an opportunity for prospects in the pipeline to be introduced to the organization and get a chance to learn from the coaches what’s expected as they progress in their careers.
The camp is also about having some fun, too.
“You have to work hard, you have to give your all and enjoy the moment,” Luukkonen said. “Don’t stress too much because it’s an opportunity -- once in a lifetime and not every guy gets it. So, you have to enjoy the moment when you get it.”