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Fifth-round defenseman Kukkonen likes to keep the puck moving

The Buffalo Sabres used their fifth-round selection on defenseman Miska Kukkonen from the Ilves U20 junior team in the Finnish Junior League.

Here are five things to know about the 6-foot, 198 pounder, a rare Finnish pick in a Sabres draft dominated by players with Swedish ties:

1. He isn't a scoring type

He had two goals and two assists and 33 penalty minutes in 12 games in 2017-18 after posting a goal and seven assists with 44 penalty minutes in 24 games in 2016-17. He's generally thought to be more proficient on the defensive side of things and has shown an ability to be physical. Kukkonen is on the younger end when it comes to this draft, having just turned 18 last week, but is said to have great maturity.

2. He fits the mold of a puck-moving defenseman

One of his top traits is said to be his vision. He keeps his eyes up and his stick out and moves the puck with crisp passes.

3. International experience

He played for Finland in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 2016, totaling two points and six penalty minutes in five games. He also played in the Five Nations event in 2017, recording two penalty minutes and no points in three games.

4. Possible sleeper

Injuries limited Kukkonen to only 12 games in 2017-18 and speculation is that he might not have been fully healthy in 2016-17. There is a chance NHL scouts weren't able to see his full potential, but he wasn't even listed in Central Scouting's rankings of Finnish players, so that might be too optimistic.

5. Another from Ilves U20

Kukkonen plays for the same team as Oskari Laaksonen, a 6-foot defenseman the Sabres selected in the third round (No. 89 overall) in last year's draft. The two played together in the southern Finnish city of Tampere the last two seasons.

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