Buffalo Sabres goaltender Devon Levi will make his rookie mistakes and have a few rough outings, but he will also dazzle us in one stretch this season.
Had the Buffalo Sabres played an encore on Halloween Night this season, this bold prediction would have been an easy one – that they would beat an opponent 8-3 once again, and everyone heads into the final stretch of the calendar year happy. But the Blue and Gold play on the 29th, so something else had to be done.
Last season, against all odds, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen enjoyed one hot January before he went onto a backslide. This season, we should be looking forward to rookie goaltender Devon Levi (yep, another bold prediction for him) getting better as the season progresses, or at least that’s the hope.
Since we’re going bold here, let’s assume that Levi will start off with mainly adequate performances, even with a better defensive rotation. But he will steadily improve as the season continues before he has one stretch of games when he’s at least a Top 10 goaltender in hockey. And note, I said Top 10 for a stretch of games, not overall.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Devon Levi allows just 31 goals in a 13-game stretch
Realistically, and hopefully, that 13-game stretch comes at a more pivotal point of the season, and if you do the math, 31 divided by 13 is just 2.38 goals per game. During this stretch, Levi’s win-loss record is 9-2-2, he logs a 0.920 save percentage, and records a quality starts percentage of 0.800.
As implied earlier, this won’t be the norm for Levi, but it will foreshadow what we can expect from him in the coming seasons. Levi has been excellent regardless of where he’s played, and that excellence will be on full display at one point during the 2023-24 Buffalo Sabres season. But at no other time will it be on better display than during this 13-game stretch.
In Bold Prediction #1, I stated Levi would yank the Calder Trophy from Connor Bedard. A stretch like this would certainly help him achieve that goal.