Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s January numbers have been unreal over the past two seasons

Over roughly the first two-thirds of January 2024, Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has posted outstanding numbers, but he also did this in 2023.
Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres
Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres / Kevin Hoffman/GettyImages

It’s getting safe to assume that Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is just a stellar goaltender in January, since this hasn’t been the only season in which he’s excelled over the first month of the calendar year. In January 2023, the 24-year-old enjoyed his best month of the season in the net for the Buffalo Sabres, and that has since parlayed into an even greater January 2024.

In January 2023, the then-23-year-old saw time in nine games, posting a 3.05 GAA and a 0.907 save percentage, plus a sparkling 6-2-1 record. While Luukkonen received a Rookie of the Month award for his efforts, his performances didn’t last and questions ultimately arose whether January 2023 was an outlier.

But here we are in January 2024, where in five starts he has a GAA of just 1.01, a 0.964 save percentage, and 134 total saves. And what’s even more amazing is the fact he has done most of this in four straight starts, giving us implications that he may be more than just a 1A, but his sensational production must remain.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s stat line has been outstanding in January

Luukkonen has shown us one full year later that he is a better goaltender than he was last season, but we still can’t forget about that drop-off between February and April 2023 that ultimately saw him either benched or in the press box after Devon Levi showed up. If Luukkonen wants to keep the roles reversed for the season, he has no choice but to keep playing like an undisputed No. 1 goaltender. 

This doesn’t mean he needs to shut opponents out or allow one goal every other night, but if he can, on average, stop all but two or three shots on goal and save at least 91 percent of the shots coming his way, then he will remain the guy. Luukkonen may look good in January, but he must stay at least solid in the coming months to truly prove himself. 


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference and QuantHockey)