The Buffalo Sabres are young and talented, yet inexperienced. And their goaltender situation can dictate this year’s result.
The Buffalo Sabres have one goaltender in the pipeline that everyone in the NHL universe is high on. But Devon Levi won’t play in the organization this season as he will return to Northeastern to try and better his legendary performance that saw him channel his inner-Dominik Hasek.
Since we won’t see Levi in action, general manager Kevyn Adams instead decided to go with a patchwork unit in 2022-23 with 41-year-old Craig Anderson and an upstart goaltender in Eric Comrie, who may just enter his first season as an NHL starting goaltender. So how will this situation play out? Keep reading.
No one in NHL spheres has a high opinion of the Buffalo Sabres current goaltending situation.
When you read any season preview, the duo of Craig Anderson and Eric Comrie are often listed near the bottom. And understandably so – Anderson is 41 and well past his prime while Comrie has never played over 19 games in a single season.
However, Comrie was excellent in spot duty last year, logging a 0.920 save percentage and a 2.58 GAA. He also has hordes of experience playing in the AHL, so Comrie, at worst, is a mystery. It’s premature to say he and Anderson are the worst goaltending duo in hockey, but it is easy to see why experts rank them among the lowest.
Anderson’s sub-0.900 save percentage and 3.12 GAA is not what you want in a starting goaltender. He finished the season at 17-12-2, which looks good on paper but at the end of the day, isn’t a great stat to judge goaltenders by. Anderson showed he can still play in spot duty, but there is no way he should see over 25 games of action unless Comrie suffers an injury.
We also cannot forget about Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who has yet to sign as I write this article. There were rumors of him moving to the KHL, but both Luukkonen and his agent denied this. Last season, Luukkonen played well in nine games. He finished just 2-5-1, but his 0.917 save percentage and GAA of 2.74 speak wonders.
While Luukkonen did not play well in Rochester, his moderately strong showing during his nine games with the Sabres means he also has an outside chance to see extensive playing time if he returns. Right now, I am erring on the side that he does.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)