The Buffalo Sabres played an outstanding pair of preseason games, so the time has come for an overreaction type of bold prediction.
Next to the show Zach Benson gave us all, the Buffalo Sabres goaltending was phenomenal in Tuesday night’s preseason win over the Boston Bruins. Sure, it was the Blue and Gold’s A Group vs. the Bruins B Group, let’s be honest here, but the combo of Devon and Devin is going to turn a lot of heads this season…..kind of….
While Devon Levi will man the net in Buffalo, Devin Cooley could be part of a strong group in Rochester, most likely with Dustin Tokarski. Clearly, if Eric Comrie or Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen get waived (hey, anything can happen, right?) and they pass through waivers, then the outcome may be different, but for now we’ll just keep things simple.
However, Comrie is talented enough to be a true backup goaltender in the NHL, as he showed during his time in Winnipeg in 2021-22. Meanwhile, Luukkonen would undoubtedly intrigue multiple general managers, especially if they were looking for a young goaltender to develop.
Buffalo Sabres will have deep and productive goaltending throughout the system
It starts with Levi, who once again channeled his inner-Jedi and seemed to know where the puck was heading in foresight. Regardless of who backs him up or serves as the 1B, they will also enjoy at least above-average production. The theory is that Levi, as the 1A, will take plenty of pressure off of Luukkonen or Comrie, and that, in turn, will organically give them better numbers.
Shifting gears to the AHL, Tokarski has shown us that he can be more than a steady presence. And that’s something that will occur once again this season. Devin Cooley, meanwhile, will enjoy the best season of his career, and there is a good chance he becomes the main man in the net following a strong outing in Milwaukee last season when he allowed a 2.93 GAA alongside a 0.909 save percentage.
He followed that up with a 2-2 record in the playoffs, with a 0.916 save percentage, plus a 2.29 GAA. This was a vast improvement from his numbers in 2021-22, in which he allowed a 3.06 GAA, plus a 0.898 save percentage. So yeah, I’m going to overreact to that performance and go bold with each goaltender in the system, and they will ALL enjoy the best seasons of their respective careers in Buffalo and/or Rochester should they stick around.
(Statistics provided by Elite Prospects)