The Buffalo Sabres organization outwardly is expressing plenty of faith that youngster Devon Levi will be a good NHL goalie. They may be right.
But will he be good enough to get them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs next season?
After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 12th year in a row and watching the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights with former franchise cornerstones Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart on their rosters, the Sabres are facing an increasing amount of frustration from their fanbase. This summer GM Kevyn Adams may have to make a move that facilitates the Sabres getting into the postseason and the potential glut in the goaltending market may make it tough to ignore.
Adams has said that he does not want to block Levi’s progress from being the club’s #1 goaltender, but that does not mean that he is ready to play the lion’s share of games as a 21-year-old.
Free agent Goalie Options
In free agency, veterans such as Carolina’s Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta, Ottawa’s Cam Talbot, and Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry are all coming off shorter-term contracts and may be willing to take another one-or-two year deal to serve as a tandem partner for Levi.
Hart Enters The Trade Market
The trade options appear to be expanding by the day. Winnipeg is fielding offers for Vezina Trophy nominee Connor Hellebuyck, who has one year left before becoming an unrestricted free agent. Anaheim’s John Gibson reportedly has requested a trade, but the 29-year-old netminder is signed for another four years at an AAV of $6.4 million. On Tuesday, after the three-way trade between Columbus, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, new Flyers GM Daniel Briere admitted that he is fielding offers on goalie Carter Hart. Hart is only 24, is signed through next season at just under $4 million for 2023-24, and is an arbitration-eligible RFA next summer, which means he is under control for two seasons before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) June 2, 2023
The cost for Hart likely will be steep, but the Sabres have the young prospects and draft picks that the rebuilding Flyers would be looking for. That type of package would not affect the current Sabres roster, would provide stability in between the Buffalo pipes, and Hart’s reasonable salary would not hinder Adams in his main goal of the offseason of extending former #1 overall picks Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power.