The Buffalo Sabres announced yesterday that they have signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Lawrence Pilut to a two year, entry level contract.
The 22 year old Swedish blue liner absolutely tore up the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this season with eight goals and 38 points in 52 games. His incredible point totals and all around stellar defensive play earned him SHL honors, being named the 2017-18 SHL Defenseman of the Year. Essentially, Pilut won the Norris Trophy of Swedish hockey. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The 5’10”, 183 pound defender has never played in North America before, so it’ll be interesting to see how Sabres management elects to proceed with his development. Throw him right into the fire of NHL hockey right away? Or let him find his footing in the AHL with the Rochester Americans before giving him a shot with the big club?
Assuming the Sabres make the obvious choice and select potential superstar Rasmus Dahlin with their first overall selection and assuming that Pilut makes the opening day roster the Sabres will boast one of the youngest defense corps in the entire NHL. Dahlin is just 18 years old, Pilut is 22 years old, Rasmus Ristolainen is just 23 years old , Nathan Beaulieau is just 25 years old… in fact the oldest Sabres blue liner under contract next season is Marco Scandella at just 28 years old. With the NHL transitioning to a younger, faster game the Sabres defense corps finally looks on track for the first time in years.
Here’s the full press release on Pilut’s signing courtesy of the Sabres official website:
The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed defenseman Lawrence Pilut to a two-year, entry-level contract.
Pilut (5'11", 179 lbs., 12/30/1995) led all Swedish Hockey League defensemen with 38 points (8+30) in 52 games for HV71 last season and was named the 2017-18 SHL Defenseman of the Year. He also ranked fifth in the league in assists and 13th in points.
A native of Tingsryd, Sweden, Pilut recorded 71 points (15+56) in 191 career SHL games, all for HV71. He also represented Sweden at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he scored two goals and added two assists in eight games.