Sabres goaltender Devon Levi could benefit from a trip to the AHL

      Levi's early struggles and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen's emergence have fuelled debate over whether the Sabres should demote Levi to AHL Rochester.

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      Buffalo Sabres goaltender Devon Levi has had a rough start to his rookie year in the NHL.

      After looking the part of the top goaltending prospect in the world in his first seven NHL games with the Sabres to close out the 2022–23 season, Levi has stumbled to kick off the 2023–24 campaign.

      The 21-year-old goaltender has a 3–4–1 record and an .876 save percentage in nine games with the Sabres this year, fuelling debate in Buffalo over whether the team should send him down to the AHL’s Rochester Americans for more reps and development time.

      On Tuesday’s episode of Daily Faceoff Live, Frank Seravalli and Tyler Yaremchuk were joined by The Buffalo News‘ Lance Lysowski to discuss the Levi situation — and the emergence of 24-year-old goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who is 6–3–1 with a .918 SV% in 11 games this season.

      Frank Seravalli: I want to ask you about the goaltending situation, because we went into the season saying, “Devon Levi, he is going to be the guy that takes off,” and yet, it’s Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen who’s been fantastic the last number of games. Is it his crease to run with? Should it be his crease to run with right now?

      Lance Lysowski: It should be. We’ll see if that’s the case. We all know that they’re carrying three goalies. They still are, despite the fact that Devon Levi has struggled. There’s nothing wrong with sending a 21-year-old goalie to the American Hockey League. Even elite prospects like Connor Hellebuyck, he did a good chunk of games down in the AHL to develop into an elite No. 1 goalie in the NHL. So, hey, it’s time, I think, for Devon Levi to go get games, a rotation for a 21-year-old goalie does not make any sense. It’s funny, Frank, because they kept Eric Comrie, not because they had concerns about Devon Levi, but because they had concerns about Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who has emerged as the clear-cut No. 1 through 22 games here. I’m sure that there is some hesitancy to send Devon Levi down — what’s that going to do for his confidence — but they put themselves in this position.

      Watch the full episode here:

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