The Buffalo Sabres may have lost last night, but goaltender Eric Comrie found himself in an ideal situation and took advantage of it.
The Buffalo Sabres put Eric Comrie in quite the situation, surrounding him with a lineup of fringe NHLers and prospects, sans a few notable names. To compound things, Comrie also faced the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the best that the Pittsburgh Penguins offered.
He responded with a 0.931 save percentage, stopping 27 of 29 shots on goal, and helped shut the Penguins out on the power play. The Sabres, clearly outmatched, allowed four breakaways, and Comrie won on every single one of them. His most impressive may have come against star player Sidney Crosby.
While Luukkonen struggled in his own outing this past Wednesday and Comrie likely gained the inside track to snag the backup job, this battle is probably far from over. Sure, there are only three preseason games left, but don’t expect head coach Don Granato and Company to decide on the backup until following the “dress rehearsal” games next week.
Buffalo Sabres will decide who wins backup job once preseason ends
Not only will they decide on who ultimately wins the gig – look for them to also work out whether they will keep two goaltenders in the lineup, or roll with three like they did last season. Comrie’s improvement from the 2022 preseason is night and day, as it seemed like he allowed every other shot on goal into the net, and there is no way they can risk losing him on waivers.
It’s obvious that the Sabres think highly of Luukkonen, and he also isn’t waivers-exempt. At this point, barring a major meltdown from one of the aforementioned goaltenders, it’s realistic to think they will go with a three-man rotation. Or that will at least be the case in the season’s early going.
If that becomes the case, it will be interesting to see how they split the duo’s ice time, along with that of presumed starting goaltender, Devon Levi. In such a scenario, Levi would realistically start 41 games, while Comrie takes 25 starts, and Luukkonen takes the other 16, or roughly a 50% – 30% – 20 % split.
(Statistics provided by NHL.com)