Aside from perhaps the Anaheim Ducks, the Buffalo Sabres have some of the best goaltending in the pipeline. With two solid netminders already in Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth, they also have two extremely solid goalies battling it out in the AHL. Not to mention there’s another coming from the WHL who definitely will be a threat in years to come. I’d go out on a limb and say their crease is set for the future.
With the season winding down and injuries piling up, the Buffalo Sabres have gotten a chance to see both Matt Hackett and Nathan Lieuwen in NHL game action. Both netminders made their Sabres debut’s this past week and while both looked solid, only one was able to drag out a W. Albeit against the 2nd worst NHL team.
Lieuwen got his first NHL action coming in after an Enroth injury and stopped all 10 shots he faced. However, in his first game as a starter he didn’t fare as well. He made 23 saves on 26 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. While he looked good at times, he showed that he wasn’t quite ready to make the step to the NHL. He’s had a great season winning the crease with the Rochester Americans and has a bright future, but just isn’t there yet.
Hackett on the other hand has that previous NHL experience and comes with a high tutelage from his days with the Minnesota Wild. He took a step back in his AHL development this season but showed in his Sabres debut that an NHL crease may not be too far off. He stopped 35 of 36 shots to snap the Buffalo Sabres seven-game losing streak in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
While it’s been just one game in blue and gold for both goaltending prospects, the future appears to be bright for both. Which one do you think has the brightest future and the potential to stick with the Sabres post-rebuild when they become contenders?