The Buffalo Sabres have a three-goaltender rotation, and Devon Levi is part of it. However, he would benefit from a stint in Rochester.
If there is one thing none of us are a fan of, it’s a three-goaltender rotation. But unfortunately, this is what we currently have in Buffalo with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Eric Comrie, and Devon Levi. So far this year, Comrie and Luukkonen have been solid, sometimes more than solid, in the net, and Devon Levi has also had his moments.
However, keeping three goaltenders on the roster has been detrimental to a team that is having a tough time scoring. The Sabres have not one but TWO prospects in Rochester who could help out on that front with Isak Rosen and Jiri Kulich, but keeping three goaltenders with the big club prevents them from coming up to help out the Sabres ailing attack.
There needs to be an odd-man out in the rotation so they can address the scoring issues. But with Luukkonen and Comrie playing so well, you can’t send them to Rochester via waivers since someone will pick them up about 20 minutes (figuratively, not literally) after the Sabres would make such a move. With Levi, the Sabres don’t have this issue since he’s waivers-exempt.
While Levi’s numbers haven’t been good, they’re not why he should be in Rochester. If you think about it, he’s faring about the same as Comrie and Luukkonen did last year, and look at the jumps they made. So the argument for sending Levi to play for the Amerks has zero to do with performance, and everything to do with logic.
Buffalo Sabres need to send Devon Levi for at least a stint in Rochester
With the Sabres seeming to evenly rotate their three goaltenders, it prevents Levi from starting more than once a week unless the Blue and Gold have a four-game slate in seven days. For a 21-year-old in his first season in professional hockey, it would be better for him to get more live reps, and Rochester is the perfect avenue.
Playing in Rochester guarantees Levi to get at least two starts a week if the Amerks have more than one game on the schedule in a given week. But in a worst-case scenario, he will get time playing in consecutive games, something that doesn’t appear to be happening in the NHL any time soon.
And since Levi is waivers-exempt, the Buffalo Sabres have no risk sending him there. It will benefit everyone, including Luukkonen and Comrie, as they will get more playing time in the NHL, and Levi’s development could skyrocket as a result. And as a bonus, the fans in Rochester would be pretty happy with the Sabres to send such a good goaltender over there.
Overall, everyone, even the Sabres scoring attack given the extra roster spot sending Levi to Rochester would create, would benefit. Send the kid to Rochester, let him dominate, then call him back up when needed – such as an injury to a goaltender.
Source: Did the Sabres put too much on Devon Levi too soon? by Matthew Fairburn, The Athletic