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Sabres Grades: Levi Gets No Help



Devon Levi Sabres Grades Vancouver Canucks

Devon Levi was outstanding in Vancouver on Tuesday, but the Sabres Grades will tell you that the team in front of him failed him. His Buffalo Sabres lost to the Canucks 3-2 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score implied. Only five of the 18 skaters posted an above-average grade, with nine “D’s” and “F’s” among them.

The Canucks took full advantage of a winded Sabres team whose playoff hopes are fading.

Must Read: Sabres Lose 3-2 to Canucks Despite Dahlin Desperation Goals

If you missed the introduction to the grading system, we’re assigning letter grades to each Buffalo player based on game performance. The letter grades are assigned based on statistical computation, taking into account the following factors:

  • Production
  • Quality of offense
  • Quality of defense
  • Volume of offense
  • Volume of defense
  • Powerplay performance
  • Penalty kill performance
  • Penalties drawn and taken
  • Role
  • Minutes played
GradeLower LimitUpper Limit


Devon Levi

Grade: A+

Devon Levi was peppered with 34 shots, and at times his rebound control was questionable at best. He showed great recovery to counter some of the bigger rebounds he gave up though. Letting in only two goals on Vancouver’s expected goal total of around seven goals, per Evolving-Hockey, is crazy impressive.

Levi finished with 4.17 goals saved above expected, just a massive number. The performance should earn him some confidence in the present and into next season. Some of Levi’s games for the Sabres lately rival Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s steady performances, showing that Buffalo could have an elite young tandem in net for years to come.

Tage Thompson

Grade: A-

Production: D
Offense: B
Defense: A-
Special Teams: C

Not all was bad in front of Levi. Tage Thompson was very noticeable throughout the game, forcing play up the ice and hanging onto the puck longer than normal, even by his standards. He couldn’t quite solve Vancouver’s Casey DeSmith, but the chances generated against the top Canucks defensive players was a performance in the mold of last season.

Things seem to be clicking for Thompson lately, so don’t be surprised if we see another similar performance Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers. He’s set the standard for the rest of the season.

Alex Tuch

Grade: A-

Production: D
Offense: B-
Defense: B-
Special Teams: C

When Thompson was buzzing, Alex Tuch was right there with him. While his situational grades weren’t quite as strong, Tuch drew a couple of penalties and continuously kept Buffalo on the right side of the game. When the duo keep their feet moving, they’re as dangerous as any in the entire NHL.

Tuch played the most minutes of any Sabres forward, including special teams. Vancouver’s powerplay had him chasing a bit and the production wasn’t there, but overall it was a solid game.


Jacob Bryson

Grade: F

Production: F
Offense: F
Defense: D-
Special Teams: F

Let’s credit Jacob Bryson for coming in and performing admirably for the Sabres since his recall. He made Erik Johnson expendable, won an NHL job over Ryan Johnson, and has helped Buffalo on their recent run up the standings.

That said, it was a poor night for the defenseman. The Sabres generated next to nothing when he was on the ice. His total contribution to the production department was a blocked shot on the penalty kill. He played only 8.4 minutes at even strength, leaving the door open for Kale Clague to potentially get a shot at getting in the lineup on Thursday.

Eric Robinson

Grade: F

Production: F
Offense: F
Defense: D
Special Teams: N/A

It’s been a string of games now where Eric Robinson has surfaced in the “duds” column. While your fourth-line winger probably should be your worst-performing player, in theory, a contender usually has a particular role lined up for a player in that spot in the lineup.

The Sabres don’t normally use Robinson on special teams, and he doesn’t provide any significant offensive spurts. That leaves the question of why he is playing every night. It’s a “play not to lose” mentality if you’re continually putting a defense-only player in the lineup who doesn’t contribute elsewhere to help the team.

Tyson Jost

Grade: F

Production: D+
Offense: F
Defense: D
Special Teams: N/A

Tyson Jost falls into a similar category as Robinson, as the Sabres are short on bodies at forward after trading Casey Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo. Jost has shown more of an attacking game in the past, but he’s currently just an effort player with the Sabres.

If management and the coaching staff were serious about making a run at the playoffs, there’d surely be other players auditioning for Jost and Robinson’s spots in the lineup. Instead, they’re acting as fillers while getting their chance to prove that they deserve to be full-time NHLers to advance their careers.

Devon LeviG100%A+
Tage ThompsonF84%A-
Alex TuchF77%A-
Rasmus DahlinD60%B-
Jj PeterkaF57%B-
Owen PowerD53%C+
Peyton KrebsF45%C
Bowen ByramD44%C
Zemgus GirgensonsF43%C
Zach BensonF36%C-
Jeff SkinnerF29%D+
Henri JokiharjuD24%D+
Dylan CozensF23%D+
Jordan GreenwayF19%D
Victor OlofssonF10%D-
Connor CliftonD8%D-
Tyson JostF7%F
Eric RobinsonF7%F
Jacob BrysonD4%F