Buffalo Sabres: The mysterious case of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is an interesting story on the Buffalo Sabres. Here is a look at his career so far and what his future might look like.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is an interesting name within the Buffalo Sabres organization. He’s only played 13 NHL games in 2 short seasons. In 2020-2021, he played in 4 games whereas he played in 9 games this previous year. According to Hockey-Reference, he went 2-5-2 during the 2021-2022 season which saw him getting hurt.

In the small sample size, Luukkonen was solid. Unfortunately though, he would get hurt in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning and wouldn’t see time in the NHL for the rest of the season. Even though his win-loss record wasn’t impressive, he was rocking a 2.74 GAA and a .917 SV%. In the American Hockey League with Rochester, it was a different story.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s mysterious case saw solid numbers with the Buffalo Sabres and fringe numbers with the Rochester Americans.

According to Elite Hockey Prospects, Luukkonen went 15-14-8, with a SV% of .900 and a GAA of 3.28. Luukkonen is an interesting goalie. Sometimes he’ll struggle and then other times, he’ll be really good. With that being said, what is going to happen to UPL?

He’s viewed as the future number one goalie from not only Sabres management but from the fanbase as well. While that is the case, it’s looking like he’ll be starting the year in Rochester unless he performs better than Craig Anderson and Eric Comrie. With that being said, it wouldn’t hurt to let him start the year with the Amerks.

He can still get some more reps in and see if he can improve. Which leads me into my last point, what will his future look like? Even though the Sabres have concerns at goalie, they are loaded with goaltending prospects. These names include Luukkonen, Erik Portillo, Devon Levi and 2022 second round pick Topias Leinonen.

While Portillo and Levi are uncertainties, Luukkonen is the most NHL-ready out of these names. When all is said and done, Luukkonen will be with the Sabres for the long run and it’s possible fans will see him at some point this season.

(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference and Elite Prospects)