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Annual expectations thread 2023/24: #1 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen


Annual expectations thread 2023/24: #1 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen   

33 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these best reflects your expectations for UPL this year?

    • He’s not an NHL goalie and the Sabres will regret giving him even the number 2 spot
    • He will play 30-plus games — inconsistently, but with an acceptable record, like last year
    • He will stabilize and elevate his game and will be OK as a 1B this year

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It’s very likely that if you told Sabrespace one year ago that UPL was poised to go 17/11/4 for the Sabres, virtually every poster would have happily taken it. That’s exactly what happened, but those who have embraced Luukkonen as a part of the Sabres this year seem few and far between. A save percentage ranking 63rd among the 79 NHL goalies with a minimum 10 games played last year will do that. As will posting a SV% of .875 or worse in nearly 1/3 of his 33 appearances.


The flip side of the bad games were the 12 appearances with a SV% of .923 or better. The issue is obviously inconsistency. Kevyn Adams has gone out of his way to publicly support UPL, including inviting him over for dinner to reassure him of his value to the organization and what he needs to do to solidify it. It remains to be seen if that support is authentic, a savvy GM trying to salvage an asset, or a bit of both. UPL enters the season with a spot in Buffalo his for the taking, at roughly the time in his development he should be taking it. But it’s a spot that’s also there for the giving away.

What do you expect from Luukkonen this year?
(Last year’s takes here)


This marks the final installment of this year’s expectations threads. Thanks for participating.

I’ll give people some time to catch up on their votes and post a results thread in a few days just in time for training camp and some real hockey to talk about.

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1 hour ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

All the goalies will hopefully benefit from improved play in front of him.  Unless he fixed the flaws Marty has been talking about for the last few years, he will conri ue to be a below replacement goaltender.  

On Sabres Live yesterday, UPL was interviewed and he was asked what on the ice things he worked on this off-season. His response was to have his feet a little more narrow in his stance (and something else, but I forget).  After saying goodbye to UPL, Biron said he thought UPL’s stance was too narrow to begin with.  😂

So either Marty would be a bad goalie coach or the flaws ain’t gettin fixed. 

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UPL got through a season, 42 games, without getting injured for the first time since his OHL days (18-19). 

Maybe being healthy heading into the offseason he can build off of that and progress…but I am not a UPL believer.  

Unless the plan is to start Levi in Rochester (I am guessing it isn’t), I expect UPL to hit waivers on cutdown day and be claimed or sent to ROC. 

BTW, between Buff and ROC the Sabres have six goaltenders signed to NHL or two-way deals. Something has to give. Comrie is the easier choice due to UFA status at season’s end, but it isn’t my preference.  

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Development is hard enough to predict without throwing the goalie factor into the mix.

UPL is the last guy from his cohort that we're waiting on, which makes sense since goalies take the longest.

He wasn't good enough last year and I honestly don't know if he can be.

I guess we're going to find out.

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