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Annual expectations thread 2022/23: #1 Ukko-Pekka Lukkonnen


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

57 members have voted

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

    • More uneven play in Rochester, effectively ending any hopes of him being a significant part of the Sabres future
    • Solid play in Rochester and in his NHL appearances, putting him solidly in the NHL picture for 2023/24
    • He will clearly outplay his competition and become the Sabres #1 by season’s end


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On 8/7/2022 at 12:44 AM, dudacek said:

I have what appears to be a minority opinion.

When I’ve watched UPL play - in the NHL - he looks like he isn’t out of place.

He’s had 13 NHL starts and I’m not sure there’s been any where he didn’t give his team a chance to win. He’s faced Boston 4 times, the Rangers twice, Tampa, Washington and Minnesota, hardly a bunch of gimmes. In the 11 games he’s finished, he averaged more than 35 shots against. Overall, he’s got a .913 NHL save percentage.

Unfortunately, he didn’t finish the other 2 because of injury. And that, coupled with his multiple injuries and inconsistencies with the Amerks, is what people remember.

I think UPL looks like an NHL goalie: his size, his poise, the way he tracks the play, gets post to post, and covers the net when the puck is down low.

But away from NHL action, I have seen him let far too many long shots leak through - shots that he was completely prepared for. And his fragility has to end.

I honestly don’t know what I expect from UPL; losing the Amerk crease to Subban would not surprise me, neither would a breakout season where he backstops a resurgent Sabres squad and gets Calder Trophy talk.

He has both those scenarios in him.

I do know that the Sabres’ patience with him is about to run out; this is a make or break season for him in Buffalo.

My expectation is that he'll be a better NHLer than AHLer, but his ceiling is Biron at absolute best and it more likely tops out at Hutton at most or maybe Johnson.

He seems to need the structure of the NHL to find a comfort level even though the shots are tougher.  He got better at not letting every shot just under the crossbar go in which indicates he's more comfortable with the hips post surgery.

Expect he'll get a few games in the NHL when Anderson can't go, but he'll break again before really getting going.  Hoping that's too pessimistic, but doubt it is.

Also expect Subban to look better in Ra-cha-cha than him, but him to get the opportunity of the callup.  

Didn't vote because the above didn't really seem an option. 

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I agree with others posting the same type of comments.

Very few players have the chance UPL will have this year.  He has a clear path to prove to everyone he can be an NHL goalie.  It's all up to him to elevate his game and take advantage of a unique position that most young goalies never get.

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I doubt UPL will be on the roster on opening day, but it’s possible with a great camp.

I do think it’s equally likely that any of the three goalies is the #1 headed down the stretch.

There’s even a non-negligible chance one of the college guys is signed in the spring, gets a few starts, and goes on a run to finish the year.

It’s really that wide open in goal.

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43 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I doubt UPL will be on the roster on opening day, but it’s possible with a great camp.

I do think it’s equally likely that any of the three goalies is the #1 headed down the stretch.

There’s even a non-negligible chance one of the college guys is signed in the spring, gets a few starts, and goes on a run to finish the year.

It’s really that wide open in goal.

Expect there's a better chance Levi or Portillo is the guy down the stretch than either Anderson or UPL regardless of whether Comrie falters.  And expect this year it's Comrie's job until one of the other 5 take it from him.

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UPL is an RFA and needs a new contract doesn't he?  I wonder what contract he's looking for.  I'm a bit surprised he hasn't been signed yet.

Maybe he'll be a hold out (since this is a speculation thread).

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3 hours ago, Digger said:

UPL is an RFA and needs a new contract doesn't he?  I wonder what contract he's looking for.  I'm a bit surprised he hasn't been signed yet.

Maybe he'll be a hold out (since this is a speculation thread).

If he's expecting a penny over $1MM / yr, he's nuts.  He should be happy w/ his qualifying offer.  He's barely earned that.

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  • 1 month later...

If he is 100% healthy from his injury, I think he will be very good. He has excelled before and has been o e of the top goalies in his development before the injury which I don't think was healed fully last year and affected his play. He was the top goalie in the OHL when he was drafted, but the injury has prevented him from getting much time to develop.

Best option for him is to ha e him in camp with the team, and then let him play in Rochester as the starter for most of the season to get regular playing time. If the Sabres need a backup for a short stint, bring up Subban to backup the other goalie and let UPL get as much time in Rochester to get himself back. If he appears back from the injury ND looks good, bring him up near the end of the season and give him aying time in the NHL so he can compete for the #1 job in Buffalo next year while one of the college goalies (if they sign) can be given the shot in Rochester next year.

It's never going to hurt a player to have to have to stay in the minors a little longer then it would to rush them up too early. Especially when it comes to goalies who's play can really be affected by their mental state/preparedness 

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