The Buffalo Sabres will have to wait at least a one more year to sign their second-round pick from last June's draft.
Defenseman Mattias Samuelsson told The Buffalo News on Thursday he plans to return to Western Michigan for his sophomore season in 2019-20. Samuelsson, who the Sabres drafted 32nd overall, had five goals with seven assists in 35 games as a freshman for the Broncos.
The 6-foot-4-inch, left-shot defenseman also registered a plus-3 rating in seven games to help the United States earn a silver medal at this year's World Junior Championship.
Samuelsson, 19, was listed as the 21st best North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings ahead of last year's draft. He had 11 points and 20 assists in 58 games with the U.S. National Development Program's U-18 team and captained Team USA to a Silver Medal at last spring's U-18 World Championships.
Western Michigan finished with a 21-15-1 record this season, failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament after losing to Colorado College in the NCHC quarterfinals.
Though the Sabres would benefit from signing Samuelsson, his decision ensures they will not have two of their best defensive prospects beginning their entry-level contracts in the same season.
Jacob Bryson, a second-round draft pick who recently completed his junior season at Providence College, joined the Rochester Americans on an amateur tryout ahead of the Calder Cup playoffs and will begin his entry-level deal next season.