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 warrants more consideration than goalies who posted more shutouts

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s five shutouts put him third in the NHL, tied with Thatcher Demko, but when you look at the goaltenders ahead of him, they pale in comparison to the 25-year-old. Tristan Jarry and Connor Ingram have six shutouts apiece, but Jarry boasts a solid but unspectacular 0.906 save percentage and a 2.79 GAA. Ingram’s 0.910 save percentage is one of the better in the league, but his 2.81 GAA is impressing nobody. 

You can argue the Sabres are a better overall team than the Pittsburgh Penguins (Jarry) and the Arizona Coyotes (Ingram), but the Blue and Gold have consistently ranked near the bottom of the league this year as well. Further, Arizona held a playoff spot before the new year, while the Penguins are still a better team on paper, with Sidney Crosby and company refusing to slow down. 

Further, Luukkonen has posted better overall statistics than players like Ilya Sorokin, Igor Shesterkin, Pyotr Kochetkov, Stuart Skinner, Charlie Lindgren, Juuse Saros, and, to a degree, some of the other top goaltenders listed earlier in this piece. Once again, this doesn’t mean Luukkonen deserves to win the Vezina, but he more than deserves top-10 consideration.