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What do you expect from: #1 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen?


dudacek
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UPL expectations  

44 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these best describes what you think the Sabres will get from UPL this year?

    • A legitimate starting goalie who effectively replaces Ullmark from Day One
    • An OK 1A/1B type who has his ups and downs over the season but doesn't embarass himself overall
    • 25-30 games in a backup role
    • Someone who starts the season in Buffalo but gets sent down after proving to be in over his head
    • Someone who starts the season in Rochester but comes up mid-season and sticks around
    • A minor leaguer who gets a handful of NHL games


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We got a month until the season starts and a roster full of question marks.

I'm going to post one of these a day leading up to the start of the season to see what Sabrespace thinks about our roster.

***

A 2017 2nd-rounder, UPL was crowned the Sabres goalie of the future thanks to a remarkable D+2 season where he was named OHL MVP and led the Finns to a World Junior gold medal.

Since then, hip surgery and the pandemic have conspired to limit him to only 54 games over his first two professional seasons.

He was very good in 23 games in Cincinnati, OK in 13 in Finland, and underwhelming in 24 with Rochester.

https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=196751

He also got 4 starts late last year in Buffalo.

The Sabres are very high on him even as his star has fallen among various scouting services. They seem prepared to let him challenge for a spot in the NHL this year.

What do you expect from him?

Edited by dudacek
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8 minutes ago, Thorny said:

I voted based on what I think he should be getting this year, should I change it to what I think will happen? 

I think they plan on playing him the 25-30

The intent is what do you think will happen.

I'll reword the question slightly.

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6 minutes ago, dudacek said:

The intent is what do you think will happen.

I'll reword the question slightly.

I’m between him getting the 25-30 and him getting sent down then. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they send him to Rochester, once he proves not ready. But if they are arduously tanking I can see him getting the games 

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I don't think there's any argument what the Sabres should do:  "Someone who starts the season in Rochester but comes up mid-season and sticks around"

But more than likely this is what will happen:  "25-30 games in a backup role"

I am hopeful that he develops regardless and starts to meet the potential we see in him.  Regardless of position it's always a bad idea to give a roster spot to an unproven player.  The last one being the year Mittelstadt came into the league when we did not have a decent option for 2C.

Edited by Digger
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Starts in Roch, gets called up when Dell or Anderson get injured or prove they can't handle the load.   Plays a few games here and there throughout the year, but spends most of the year in Roch.

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29 minutes ago, pi2000 said:

Starts in Roch, gets called up when Dell or Anderson get injured or prove they can't handle the load.   Plays a few games here and there throughout the year, but spends most of the year in Roch.

happy kat dennings GIF

I'll add that he will, in fact, be given a chance to earn a spot on the big club but will be deemed not quite ready.

(because KA is more concerned with the future than the present)

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“-Someone who starts the season in Rochester but comes up mid-season and sticks around

-A minor leaguer who gets a handful of NHL games”

I think it’s one of these two.  It will depend on how UPL looks and performs this season.

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I think the Sabres want UPL to split the crease with Anderson and will fool themselves into believing he can.

it's not unheard of for a 22-year-old goalie to get a lot of action, but they are usually prodigies with a strong support system around them. Neither of those things are true for Lukkonnen. The kid has just 25 AHL games under his belt and didn't shine there. He needs at least 100 AHL starts.

It will be Mittelstadt all over again.

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18 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

He should be in the minors all season.  Maybe an injury or late season call up if he makes progress.

That is what should happen.  What will happen is Dell and Anderson will stink and he’ll get called up to replace one sooner then later.

They'll stink or get injured or both. 

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1 minute ago, dudacek said:

It will be Mittelstadt all over again.

I don't think so.  It seems pretty clear that this is a development year for the team as a whole (okay, call it a tank if you want, but I don't see them standing still and sucking, but rather sucking while they develop their talent for 2 or 3 years out).  For 6K if that means playing a lot of Rochester minutes, it's what he will get.

I see our starter as Dell who will be not as bad as his last year's stats when he got only 5 starts.  You take last season out of the mix and he's got a respectable .909 SV%.  I bet we picked him up based on a fancy stats analysis and they believe he will be decent, if not great.  Good enough for a rebuilding team.

Which means that unless Anderson or Dell get hurt, 6K will spend most of the year in Rochester.

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UPL is a good goalie prospect, a top-ranked European goalie at the time of the draft. But he needs games, lots of games, before he's ready for the NHL. Last year essentially wiped more than half a season from his development, plus they only played what --- three other teams all year? It was a stagnant mess and he didn't crush it. He's not even to Mika Noronen level yet. Don't force him into a role, let him earn/win the role, or the outcome could be unfortunate.

UPL-K6: Unfortunate that I made the team?

Bales: No! Unfortunate that UPL were rushed to the team... that incomplete was your training. Not ready for the burden were you. 

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The comparison with when Mittelstadt came into the league is valid.

When Casey came into the league we did not have an adequate option for 2C.  He was given the spot before he earned it.  He was up against Berglund and Sobotka.  He did not push anyone out of the way or seize the opportunity during an injury fill in.  He was penciled in before the season started.

UPL may likely be better than both Dell and Tokarski during camp.  Does that mean he earned his spot in the lineup or that we really have poor options for our backup goaltending this season?  I'm fine with Anderson given the lack of signing options after we lost Ullmark but I think the bar is pretty low for UPL to win one of the goaltending spots.  He really needs to have time in Rochester (hopefully on a good team) otherwise I think it will hurt his development.

Edited by Digger
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14 hours ago, Digger said:

The comparison with when Mittelstadt came into the league is valid.

When Casey came into the league we did not have an adequate option for 2C.  He was given the spot before he earned it.  He was up against Berglund and Sobotka.  He did not push anyone out of the way or seize the opportunity during an injury fill in.  He was penciled in before the season started.

UPL may likely be better than both Dell and Tokarski during camp.  Does that mean he earned his spot in the lineup or that we really have poor options for our backup goaltending this season?  I'm fine with Anderson given the lack of signing options after we lost Ullmark but I think the bar is pretty low for UPL to win one of the goaltending spots.  He really needs to have time in Rochester (hopefully on a good team) otherwise I think it will hurt his development.

I'm not suggesting that he should automatically be given a roster spot. But if in training camp and preseason games he outperforms the other players at the position he should be given an opportunity to be on the roster. I say that with the proviso that he gets an abundance of playing time. It would make no sense to have him on the roster only to sit idly on the bench. If the strategy is to play him every third game then it would be better for him to be in Rochester playing full-time. 

I'm not as fearful as many are here that he will be overwhelmed in the NHL and permanently be damaged as a player. Because this roster is being rebuilt this would be a good time to see what he is capable of without hurting a team that most objective observers believe will be struggling to win many games. (That doesn't mean that this team can't be competitive and entertaining.) 

The more conservative and conventional approach of playing him in Rochester and then bringing him up if his play warrants it is what is going to happen. But in every training camp there are players who surprise and outplay expectations. If he falls into that category then he should be given the  opportunity. 

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24 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I don't think Luukkonen will be permanently damaged by being elevated too fast.

His development might be delayed though.

His development might be delayed but on the other hand being exposed to the higher level of play could, even if then sent down, might also serve as a learning experience that in the long run prove to be more beneficial than detrimental. I'm just not as worried as others are about this early exposure to the league. Very often more learning takes place failing at higher levels than succeeding at lower levels. 

It should also be noted that everything have said about UPL making the roster is predicated on him earning his spot. 

Edited by JohnC
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I think an improved UPL plays in Rochester and begins to restore faith that he can become a #1 in the NHL.

IF he does play in the NHL I think he'll benefit from having an extra coach in Anderson, who I don't believe got enough credit for helping the Washington goaltenders last year. 

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