3 huge surprises from the Buffalo Sabres heading into the All-Star Break

The Buffalo Sabres have been a team full of major surprises in 2023-24 in some good and bad ways, so let’s check out the three biggest.

Jan 24, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Alex Laferriere (78) and
Jan 24, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Alex Laferriere (78) and / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Jan 20, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) looks to / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

3 - Goaltending

If you told me Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would log three shutouts, one of them coming vs. the Colorado Avalanche, I would have scoffed with probably a sarcastic remark to follow. But here we are, approaching the All-Star Break, and Luukkonen not only has three shutouts, but a 0.908 save percentage and a solid 2.63 GAA to go with 14 quality starts. 

If you look at his 11-11-2 record, you wouldn’t know it, but it’s one of many reasons why I shy away from looking at such a stat. You can argue that at this point, Luukkonen has been the most improved player on the Buffalo Sabres and that will become an undisputed fact if he keeps up his strong play. 

While Devon Levi’s numbers aren’t great, his 0.891 save percentage is identical to what Luukkonen had last season and his 3.30 GAA is 0.31 lower while his 0.421 quality starts percentage is 0.15 points higher. Ideally, we would see Levi in Rochester, but nonetheless, for a 22-year-old who has three AHL games on his resume, Levi’s performance hasn’t been as bad as we have thought at times and it foreshadows a leap for 2024-25.

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)