Comparing the Buffalo Sabres goaltenders in 2024-25

A look at how Buffalo’s three potential netminders stack up.
Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers
Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

The Buffalo Sabres have three probable goalies heading into the 2024-25 season. Starter Ukko-Pekka Luukonen is the obvious choice to man the Sabres’ net most games this coming year. Devon Levi and new Buffalo goaltender James Reimer will have to compete for the backup spot. Let’s examine how all three goalies compare.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen enjoyed a strong season with the Sabres in 2023-24, with a .910 SV% and 2.57 GAA over 54 matchups. While he suffered a little regression the previous year, dropping from .917 and 2.74 at the end of 2022 to .892 and 3.61, respectively, a season later, he’s bounced back since then.

The Blue and Gold thought Devon Levi would be the team’s starter when 2023-24 began, but by the end of November GM Kevyn Adams sent him down in Rochester and UPL emerged as Buffalo’s starting goalie. The Finnish netminder enjoyed improved numbers as the hockey year progressed. New Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff even stated he wants Luukkonen to be the starter this coming season.

The Sabres could sign UPL to a long-term contract, because he’ll be an RFA at the end of August. Luukkonen is eligible for arbitration after a two-year bridge deal. Look for Adams to ink an agreement with UPL that avoids arbitration well before then. While No. 1 has struggled with consistency at times, he’s gotten better with experience and this coming year will make or break his NHL career.

Devon Levi

Rookie netminder Devon Levi cut his collegiate hockey career at Northeastern short in 2023 to play for the Sabres. Levi had a great start, with a .905 SV% and 2.94 GAA in just seven NHL games. Fans and managers thought they’d finally found the team’s goalie, after years in a seemingly-endless playoff drought.

Unfortunately, everyone’s euphoria proved to be premature. In his first two contests in front of Buffalo’s net, Levi lost them both. No. 27 struggled to put up solid winning numbers over the next month and a half. By late November, he was with the AHL’s Rochester Amerks.

That move turned out to be helpful. Levi excelled in Rochester, helping to win 16 games and suffering only six losses. His SV% and GAA numbers were .927 and 2.42, respectively. He played five games in the Calder Cup Playoffs and his GAA increased to 2.57. Devon Levi should get another shot at the NHL and if he can keep up his production leve, he’ll clinch the franchise’s backup goaltending position.

James Reimer

Former Detroit Red Wings goalie James Reimer came to Buffalo during Day 2 of NHL free agency on July 2. Reimer had an inconsistent performance in the Motor City, with a decent .904 SV% but a not so great .311 GAA and a dismal 0.450 quality stats percentage. The Detroit goaltender played just 25 games this past season in a backup role and he probably won’t start that many matchups for the Sabres.

Reimer enters his 15th NHL season this fall. With UPL likely playing most games this season for Buffalo, Reimer should vie with Levi for second place. The veteran Reimer will presumably have the same part now-retired goaltender Craig Anderson did, as an experienced mentor for the team’s two much younger netminders.