(Photo: Melissa Kania)

Buffalo Sabres Prospect Profile: Nathan Lieuwen


One of several goaltending prospects in the Buffalo Sabres organization entering training camp this year is Nathan Lieuwen, a 2011 draft choice of the Sabres.

Lieuwen, 22, was selected in the sixth round of 2011 NHL Entry Draft, with the 167th overall selection by the Buffalo Sabres. At 6-5, Lieuwen ties Connor Knapp as one of the tallest of the six goaltenders attending Sabres camp.

Last season, Lieuwen split the season between the ECHL and the AHL. He played 27 games with the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors, where he went 14-10-2.Lieuwen had a 2.93 GAA and .903 save percentage, allowing 78 goals on 728 shots faced. He had one shutout and even managed to notch an assist.

He was then re-assigned to the Rochester Americans on February 3 and spent the rest of the season there, though he only actually played in four games. In those four games, Lieuwen went 1-2-0 and allowed nine goals on 102 shots, notching a 2.65 GAA and a .919 save percentage in the short sample time period.

Prior to last season, Lieuwen spent parts of six seasons with the Kootenay Ice of the WHL, including the majority of the seasons from 2008 until 2012. He was named WHL Finals Most Valuable Player in 2011. The Abbotsford native just turned 22 last month and is entering the second year of his entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres.

He’ll likely be in Rochester this season, along with Matt Hackett and Connor Knapp. Next season, Andrey Makarov will be added to the picture, which will only further complicate the goaltending situation up in Rochester. Lieuwen will have to prove himself and compete for a spot in the AHL.

Recently, Nathan Lieuwen also appeared in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament for the Buffalo Sabres. After the round robin game action finished up, he made 36 saves in the championship game as the Sabres eventually fell to the Detroit Red Wings prospects, ending the tournament in second place out of eight teams total.

Lieuwen is a sizable goaltender who seems to have recovered from concussion issues he faced several years ago after a roll-over car accident. Despite being passed over in the draft prior to the Buffalo Sabres drafting him, Lieuwen rebuilt himself in his last few years in the WHL and should remain in the AHL for the entire upcoming season.

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