The Buffalo Sabres are projected to start Devon Levi and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for 2023-24, which has been a polarizing take to say the least.
The Buffalo Sabres are taking a risk by going with Devon Levi and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen for 2023-24 if they don’t trade for or sign a goaltender. But it’s a sensible risk, thanks to general manager Kevyn Adams’ prompt upgrading of the Blue and Gold’s blue line.
And thanks to Devon Levi’s strong play in his first seven NHL games along with Luukkonen’s showing he is capable of manning the net at times this past season, it’s not outside the box to think that the duo can help Buffalo return to the playoffs. In fact, there are others in the NHL universe who believe the Levi-Luukkonen combo can be a productive one.
"“Levi, with his impressive collegiate career, and Luukkonen, who has shown promise, provide a solid foundation between the pipes. Although they may experience growing pains, the Sabres can reasonably expect consistent and reliable goaltending as their young netminders gain NHL experience.” – Nathan Grella, via Sportskeeda"
Levi, Luukkonen could be a mainstay tandem with Buffalo Sabres
If Devon Levi and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen make their respective leaps in 2023-24, then the Sabres could be set in the crease for quite some time. We know Levi will be part of the young core that’s been brewing since general manager Kevyn Adams arrived as general manager in 2020, while Luukkonen, whose arrival preceded Adams, could hold down the 1B spot for at least a few seasons.
If Luukkonen, 24, shows improvement following the 2023-24 season, he can easily sign a two-to-three-year bridge contract with the Buffalo Sabres, keeping him around the Queen City as the 1B for the foreseeable future. From there, if Luukkonen shows that he can be a 1A, he would end up going elsewhere, and the Sabres would either have a goaltender ready to go in the pipeline, or they would go out and sign a 1B.
Regardless of what the immediate and distant future holds, it’s good to see that there are multiple outlets out there who believe Levi and Luukkonen can form a solid tandem in the net this season, despite their relative inexperience. Of course, we won’t know what becomes of this tandem until the regular season is underway (assuming they don’t sign or trade for a goaltender).
But at this point, it’s not farfetched to believe that Levi and Luukkonen will bring back solid returns with better defense coming to the Buffalo Sabres this year. It will be interesting to see this pair grow together if they are indeed the answer at the 1A and 1B slots.
Source: Realistic expectations for the Buffalo Sabres heading into 2023-24 by Nathan Grella, Sportskeeda.com