Buffalo Sabres: Luukkonen showing he’s not ready for the NHL

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is showing that he is not ready for the rigors of the NHL so far in his stint filling in for Eric Comrie. 

When Eric Comrie went down with a lower body injury a few weeks back, the Buffalo Sabres recalled Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Luukkonen, despite his 2-5-1 finish last season, looked strong in the net, compiling a 0.917 save percentage and a 2.74 GAA. That said, it was going to be interesting to see what he could do in 2022-23.

The answer is that Luukkonen has been about as bad as you can get. At this point, one has to wonder whether an EBUG could come in and do a better job, as farfetched as that sounds. But before you laugh, let’s check out Luukkonen’s most recent stats:

  • November 19th: 18 saves/23 attempts/five goals allowed/0.783
  • November 23rd: 34 saves/36 attempts/two goals allowed/0.944
  • November 28th: 19 saves/25 attempts/six goals allowed/0.760
  • December 1st: 28 saves/33 attempts/five goals allowed/0.848
  • December 4th: 26 saves/29 attempts/three goals allowed/0.897
  • December 7th: 20 saves/24 attempts/four goals allowed/0.833

Overall, it has led to an 0.853 save percentage and a GAA of 4.15. For all NHL goaltenders who have logged at least six starts, Luukkonen has the third-highest GAA and the worst save percentage. Not what you’re looking for from a young guy we hoped would take a leap.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been terrible

Despite the poor numbers, Luukkonen is 3-2-1, thanks to the Buffalo Sabres high-octane scoring units. In his two losses and one overtime loss, Luukkonen has been one of the primary reasons behind them, allowing five, six, and five goals, respectively, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Colorado Avalanche. In his three wins, he has allowed nine combined goals.

This is the part of the show where you wish Craig Anderson was 10 years younger, as he lamented earlier in the season. Despite his old age, Anderson has a 0.916 save percentage and a 2.87 GAA. His GAA is currently 28th in the NHL among goaltenders who have logged at least nine starts, and he is 15th in save percentage.

Sure, Luukkonen has made the highlight reel at times with major saves. But don’t most goaltenders? While poor defensive play from the skaters has definitely not helped, Luukkonen’s bad positioning both with his body and his glove have been noticeable even among the most casual hockey fan.

The good news for Luukkonen? With Comrie out for at least another few weeks, he has time to turn this around. But his margin of error is growing slimmer, and at this point, no one in the NHL has a high opinion of the guy.

(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)

Article Source: Observations: Tage Thompson ties Sabres record with 5 goals on ‘very special night’ by Lance Lysowski 

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