With Devon Levi still shelved with a lower body injury, the Buffalo Sabres will once again roll with either Eric Comrie or Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
The entire Devon Levi experiment as a full-time starter did not go well, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a 1A this year. Through the first four games of the 2023-24 season, the Buffalo Sabres tried to start Levi in each contest, but his supposedly day-to-day injury has instead expanded into week-to-week, even if the official injury report only had Levi out for the Montreal game.
While it’s easy to get behind general manager Kevyn Adams and head coach Don Granato, it was cringe-worthy to see Levi playing in four straight contests. Once he’s ready to return, it should be lesson learned for Adams and Granato, especially with three goaltenders at the helm.
Eric Comrie has played well in his first two appearances and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen played far better than his final tally this past Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators. Therefore, if the Sabres decide to continue with three goaltenders, then all three of them need to be playing.
Buffalo Sabres need to rotate Devon Levi, Comrie, and Luukkonen for now
The best way to go about this three goaltender rotation, especially with Comrie and Luukkonen putting together solid performances and Levi still learning the ins and outs of the NHL, is to give your 1A (Levi) ample playing time, but not four or even three games in a row.
Ideally, when Levi returns, the Sabres would start him for no more than two games at a time, then insert either Comrie or Luukkonen, based on which goaltender they feel matches up well with their next opponent. Therefore, the schedule would look something like this:
- Comrie or Luukkonen
- Comrie or Luukkonen
- Levi, Comrie, or Luukkonen
This would keep pressure off of Levi as he continues to adapt to the big league while Luukkonen and Comrie can each log an ample number of starts. Even if Levi strings together two or three good games, avoid deviating from the plan since again, the 21-year-old is in his first season and he doesn’t need to be overworked.
Comrie and Luukkonen are, at worst, capable backups in this league, and even if the Buffalo Sabres aren’t their long-term destinations, you will see them sticking around the NHL for at least a few years. Levi is the No. 1 goaltender and he is the future at this point, so he still deserves to be treated like the No. 1 goaltender, but it doesn’t mean he needs to start every game when healthy.