The Rochester Americans signed goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (also to be referenced as UPL) to an Amateur Tryout (ATO) after his OHL season came to an end with the Sudbury Wolves. The Wolves were eliminated in the first round of their playoff series.
Luukkonen was drafted 54th overall in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
He signed an ATO in order to be eligible to play in the playoffs with the Amerks. He is already signed to his entry level contract with the Sabres and that will begin when the 2019/2020 regular season begins. His contract is also slide eligible which means if he doesn’t play at least 10 regular season or playoff games in the NHL his entry level deal will add another year.
Depending on the outcome of the Amerks game tonight in Syracuse there’s a long shot chance that he could play in his first pro game Sunday in Belleville. If the game is meaningless to the standings it’d be a great time to get him his first game if he’s ready.
Next season the Amerks will rely again on an experience goalie, like a Scott Wedgewood, along with either Luukkonen or Johansson splitting time in net. Expectations are that it’ll be Luukkonen.
Here’s the rest of the press release from the Amerks:
Rochester Americans General Manager Randy Sexton announced today that the team has signed goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to an Amateur Tryout contract.
Luukkonen, 20, joins Rochester having recently completed his first season with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, where he posted a 38-11-2-2 record in 53 appearances, leading the league in in both wins (38) and shutouts (6). He also finished second and third among all OHL netminders with a .920 save percentage and a 2.50 goals-against average, respectively, while his 38 wins set a franchise record for the Wolves, who advanced to the postseason for the second time in three years following a second-place finish in the OHL’s Central Division.
The 6-foot-5, 214-pound netminder also compiled a 4-3 record with a 3.27 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in eight playoff games for Sudbury.
Prior to signing a three-year, entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres this past June, Luukkonen spent the bulk of the 2017-18 season playing professionally for Leki (Mestis) of Finland’s second division. In 24 games for Leki last season, he posted an 11-11-2 record and finished seventh in the league with a .909 save percentage.
Buffalo’s second-round pick (54th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Luukkonen was rated the No. 1 European goaltender by NHL Central Scouting in 2017. During the 2016-17 campaign, Luukkonen backstopped HPK (Finland Jr.) to a championship with the league’s best goals-against average in both the regular season (1.78) and the postseason (2.01).
Internationally, the Espoo, Finland, native has represented his country on numerous occasions, most recently winning the gold medal with a 3-2 win over Team USA at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Canada. Luukkonen also participated in the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, and prior to that, took home silver and gold medals at the 2017 and 2016 Under-18 World Championships, respectively.