The Buffalo Sabres chose to stay out of the goaltending market, opting to bet on the relatively inexperienced pairing of Devon Levi, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, and possibly Eric Comrie going into the 2023-24 season instead of trading for established starting goalies such as Connor Hellebuyck or John Gibson.
Devon Levi is that guy pic.twitter.com/vL9xOxdpVv
— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) April 5, 2023
“The big picture conversation on goaltending, I think we’re coming from a position of strength. I’m really excited about the goaltenders we have.” Adams said. “It goes back to a little bit of what I just said about (having depth). I think it’s really important to have quality goaltending and we’ve seen over the years if something happens, you certainly need a number of guys. So we’ll see how it plays out over the next few weeks leading into camp, but I’m certainly happy to go into the season the way we sit right now.”
GM Kevyn Adams expressed a high level of confidence that the club improving its defense with the acquisitions of Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton would help lower their goals against and improve their chances of making the postseason, but what if the Sabres young group is not up to the task. What does Adams do then??
Sabres head coach Don Granato pushed back on the assertion from the media that next season is the playoffs or bust, but with Buffalo not qualifying for the playoffs for 12 seasons and a fanbase growing more frustrated by the day. If by the halfway mark, the Sabres are hovering around or outside of a playoff spot, Adams will be forced into making a move for a goaltender if the young tandem struggles.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) January 4, 2023
Midseason Options More Costly
The netminding landscape will be pretty much the same, with Hellebuyck an expiring contract if he is not traded by the Jets, Gibson stuck in hockey purgatory in Anaheim, and rental options being the likes of Marc-Andre Fleury (unlikely since Minnesota will be contending for a playoff spot), Kaapo Kahkonen, or Antti Raanta, but the cost could conceivably go up since teams desperate to make the postseason usually have to pay a higher price.