After two seasons of college hockey and two IIHF World Junior Championships, the Buffalo Sabres decided Mattias Samuelsson is ready to begin his professional career.
Samuelsson, a 20-year-old defenseman, agreed to terms with the Sabres on a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Wednesday. He spent two seasons at Western Michigan after he was drafted 32nd overall by the Sabres in 2018. The 6-foot-4-inch defenseman compiled seven goals with 19 assists for 26 points in 65 regular-season games with the Broncos.
Samuelsson also served as captain for Western Michigan this season and filled the same role for the United States at this past IIHF World Junior Championship. He participated in each of the last two tournaments, helping the country win a silver medal in January 2019.
"We are very pleased with Mattias' growth both at Western Michigan and on the international stage," Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill said in a statement. "He possesses a unique combination of size, speed and skill, and we look forward to working with him on his next steps as a pro."
Samuelsson missed the first two games this season because of an injury and his responsibilities at world juniors caused him to miss two Western Michigan games in January. Samuelsson helped the Broncos go 11-4-1 over their final 16 games to earn the fourth seed in the NCHC postseason tournament. He had two goals with 12 assists and a plus-17 rating in 30 games this season.
However, the coronavirus outbreak led to the cancellation of all NCAA winter championships, abruptly ending Samuelsson's sophomore season.
Samuelsson joins a Sabres organization that has a surplus on the blue line featuring Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe, Brandon Montour, Colin Miller, Will Borgen and Jacob Bryson. Additionally, the team has yet to sign defensemen prospects Oskari Laaksonen and Ryan Johnson.
Samuelsson's father, Kjell, played 813 games over 14 seasons as a defenseman in the NHL and currently works for the Philadelphia Flyers as a player development coach.