Is Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen the Sabres unsung hero or MVP?

Feb 25, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) looks for
Feb 25, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) looks for / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is putting together a very impressive 2023-2024 season for the Buffalo Sabres. He has come such a long way as he was discussed amongst the fanbase as a possible trade target. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the Sabres did the right thing keeping him around.

When it comes to being a difference maker, Luukkonen is one of the reasons why the Sabres are winning games. Especially with Buffalo's offense hitting a rut, UPL has been good between the pipes and it seems like the Sabres are rolling with him for as long as they can.

Looking at the team, there are some candidates to be the MVP of the Sabres. Rasmus Dahlin, JJ Peterka and Casey Mittelstadt are just a couple of examples. But what about Luukkonen? If you look at his stats, you can make a case for him being the MVP.

This season, UPL is 17-14-2. He has a GAA (goals against average) of 2.45 and an SV% (save percentage) of .913. Looking at his last five starts, he is 4-1-0 with a .919 SV% and a 2.17 GAA. On top of that, he registered four shutouts as well.

In previous years, he has struggled in the shootouts. Last night against the Carolina Hurricanes, he stopped all four shots as the Sabres won 3-2 in the shootout. If he isn't the MVP, what about the unsung hero? For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a player who is not talked about enough but is doing good things for their team.

As I mentioned earlier in the article, UPL was not a popular figure amongst the fanbase after how he ended last season. Maybe he's not an unsung hero because people like me are talking about him, but he might not be the MVP.

If he isn't either, then what is he? Underrated? Is it not a surprise that he's performing well? I'll say this; if he can keep on playing the way he has been playing, then he should be considered as Buffalo's MVP. Here is another reason why he should be the MVP.

Coming into the season, Buffalo's goaltending was a question mark. But as you can see above in the tweet credited to The Sabre Report, the Sabres have allowed the least amount of goals in the NHL. In the 20 games played in 2024, Luukkonen has played in 16 of them.

Let's hope he can keep it rolling, especially this week and the next as Buffalo has a hard schedule coming up.