Buffalo Sabres would be unwise to play Devon Levi

Two big things happened to the Buffalo Sabres today – they signed Devon Levi, then put up a horrific defensive performance in their loss to the Flyers. 

Following the Buffalo Sabres loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, there was a lot of blame put toward goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Of course, it was premature to blame Luukkonen for the Sabres PK woes and their sheer inability to play defense when Mattias Samuelsson, their best stay-at-home blueliner, is out for the foreseeable future.

Not that Luukkonen couldn’t have played better games recently. He definitely could have. But it doesn’t take away from the fact of how unbelievably bad the Sabres are defensively at the moment, which leads to a larger influx of scoring chances for the opponent.

In tonight’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, I personally counted at least five times when Dan Dunleavy said, “And the Flyers get behind the defense,” or a variation thereof. Just as they left Eric Comrie to fend for himself last Thursday vs. Dallas, they did the same thing tonight regarding the usually solid Craig Anderson.

Buffalo Sabres cannot let Devon Levi on the ice at the moment

Given how poorly the Sabres have played defensively, there is no way, if I’m head coach Don Granato or general manager Kevyn Adams, that I could justify letting Devon Levi play behind this group unless the goal was to scar the kid before his NHL career really begins. Not, at the absolute least, until they get Samuelsson back and he establishes a rhythm.

Levi is too good of a commodity for a hockey team that hasn’t had a legitimate franchise goaltender since the Ryan Miller days. And Levi has the potential to be just as good, if not better.

So a friendly note, or a plea, to Don Granato and Kevyn Adams: Don’t play this kid until you at least get Samuelsson back. If, by any chance, you decide to shut him down for the year, don’t play the kid until your current rotation proves they can stop an opponent. That is all.