3 reasons Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is a legitimate Vezina candidate

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been arguably the Buffalo Sabres best player this season, and he is the reason they are hanging onto playoff contention.
Buffalo Sabres v Seattle Kraken
Buffalo Sabres v Seattle Kraken / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Luukkonen has put an average team in playoff contention

The Buffalo Sabres have a modest 71 points through 69 games, but they are somehow still in playoff contention. That’s remarkable enough, but when you realize this team has fought its way back into contention not because they’re putting pucks in the net, but because of Luukkonen’s net presence, that realization alone makes him an upper-echelon goaltender. 

Through 69 contests, the Sabres have just 207 goals for, and they are averaging just three per game, good for 19th in the NHL. Adjust that number at the same rate for the last 13 games, and you get a modest 246 goals, exactly 50 fewer than what they scored last season. 

As for goals allowed, the Sabres are 12th in the league at 204, averaging 2.96 per. Through 41 starts and 44 games, Luukkonen has allowed 101 of those goals. Think about that for a minute, and allow me to reiterate: Luukkonen has allowed 101 of the Sabres 204 goals in 41 starts and 44 appearances. 

Devon Levi and Eric Comrie have allowed a combined 92 goals, with the rest coming via an empty-netter. Levi and Comrie have a combined 29 appearances and 28 starts, and if you do the math, these two have allowed 3.17 per appearance. As for Luukkonen, that number is 2.29 per appearance.