Buffalo Sabres report card following a disappointing season

A lot has changed for the Buffalo Sabres in the first two weeks following a disappointing season, so how poorly did the Blue and Gold really fare in 2023-24?
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Jordan Greenway (12) is congratulated
Apr 15, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Jordan Greenway (12) is congratulated / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

Goaltending was great, special teams were subpar

Goaltending has been an issue in Buffalo for nearly as long as the playoff drought, but that ultimately wasn’t the case this season, even if it didn’t come without controversy. Devon Levi was supposed to be the prodigy here, but that didn’t happen and he’s currently in Rochester, albeit having enjoyed some outstanding returns. 

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was a different story, and you can make a case that he was the reason for the Sabres allowing just 244 goals this season, which was a solid 11th in the NHL. Luukkonen also likely helped keep the Sabres penalty kill afloat, as it finished 13th in the league. 

If you remember correctly, Buffalo’s PK unit was on another level to start the campaign before it backslid into the middle of the 32-team pack. That didn’t last all season, and they worked their way back up before settling in 13th. 

Nothing dropped off like the power play, and Lindy Ruff will have his work cut out for him as he tries to fix a unit that finished 29th last season with a 16.59 conversion rate. The lack of success on the man advantage only made things tougher for this team offensively. 

Overall, Luukkonnen and the goaltending unit get a B-plus, and if Levi returns and improves next season, it won’t be long until that B becomes an A. As for special teams, they get a C-minus, and you can thank the power play unit for bringing that grade to nearly below average.