Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen commits to the Wolves
by Randy Pascal
The Sudbury Wolves believe they have taken a major step forward with the signing earlier this week of # 3 overall import selection Ukko-Pekka
Luukkonen, a move they hope will accelerate their return into the thick of the OHL Eastern Conference playoff race in 2018-2019.
A second round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2017, Luukonen already has both a gold and silver medal from the IIHF (International Ice Hockey
Federation) World U-18 championships to his credit, as well as emerging as Finland's starting goalie at the 2018 World Juniors in Buffalo.
Currently, the 6'4.5" 209 pound puckstopper is in Kamloops (B.C.) as the Finnish national U-20 grouping gather for the Sportcheck World Junior Showcase.
Small wonder that Wolves management are absolutely giddy with their latest acquisition.
"He is a physical presence in the goal crease, a great athlete and a young man that is eager to step into our organization and help our hockey team succeed,"
noted Sudbury GM & Vice-President of Hockey Operations, Rob Papineau, in a team issued media release.
"Over the past two years, we have made many positive changes within the organization and it is nice that the hockey community is taking note and showing
confidence in what we are doing and where we are headed."
After finishing dead last in OHL standings last year, posting a record of 17-42-9-0, the local juniors are anxious to see just how many rungs, up the ladder, they
can climb this year, given the addition of consensus number one overall draftee Quinton Byfield, the return of 2017 first round pick Blake Murray (who
scored 21 goals in his rookie campaign) and the commitment of Luukkonen to the franchise, a step which greatly solidifies the Sudbury goaltending picture.
Papineau and head coach Cory Stillamn will have more decisions to make given that Jake McGrath (19 yrs old - 45 GP - 4.00 GAA - 88.5% save
percentage), Marshall Frappier (18 yrs - 22 GP - 4.69 - 87.1%) and David Bowen (18 yrs - 4 GP - 3.65 - 90.2%) all saw action last year between the pipes,
and are all eligible to return for the