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The Hockey News
Could the Buffalo Sabres Go Goalie Shopping This Summer?
By Lyle Richardson,
The Buffalo Sabres are having one of their best seasons in years but are still out of a playoff spot. Recent speculation suggests a new goalie should help.
Despite making notable improvements this season, the Buffalo Sabres sit seven points outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Sloppy defense and inconsistent goaltending has held them back. While they're third overall in goals per game (3.56), their 3.67 goals-against per game is the league's fourth-worst .
The Athletic's Matthew Fairburn considers the Sabres' goaltending as the main reason that's all but dashed their playoff hopes. He expects 41-year-old starter Craig Anderson will retire at the end of this season. Eric Comrie and Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen are signed for 2023-24, but Fairburn believes that doesn't mean either one will be handed the starter's job.
Fairburn noted Devon Levi is their goalie of the future. The promising 21-year-old signed a three-year entry-level contract earlier this month and is expected to make his NHL debut on Friday against the New York Rangers.
Handing Levi the starter's job for next season, however, would be a significant burden to place on his young shoulders. Fairburn believes Sabres GM Kevyn Adams must find a suitable short-term veteran option to pair with Levi instead of Comrie or Luukkonen.
Several suitable candidates to mentor Levi could be available to Adams via this summer's free-agent market if he's so inclined.
Los Angeles Kings' Joonas Korpisalo and the Pittsburgh Penguins' Tristan Jarry could be among them. Those two, however, could be seeking full-time starter jobs on long-term contracts.
Better short-term options could be those in the mid-to-late 30s range. They include the Vegas Golden Knights' Jonathan Quick, New York Islanders' Semyon Varlamov, Ottawa Senators' Cam Talbot, San Jose Sharks' James Reimer and Antti Raanta or Frederik Andersen of the Carolina Hurricanes.
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