Sabres Have a Goaltending Gem in Levi

Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images
Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

Over the last several seasons, the Buffalo Sabres have not had good goaltending.

There has been a lot of inconsistent play, soft goals allowed, poor play in front of them, and a lot of pucks behind them during the last few seasons. In fact, the team’s poor goaltending is usually one of the main reasons why they end up missing the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Sabres are hoping that will change in the very near future. No, it will not be because of Craig Anderson; it will not be because of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen or Eric Comrie.

It will be because of a goaltender they acquired on July 24, 2021. On that day, the Florida Panthers traded their seventh-round pick (212th overall), Devon Levi, rights to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Sam Reinhart.

If that name sounds familiar to you, you probably heard that Levi, 21, won the most valuable player award at the Beanpot tournament. Levi’s team, the 16th-ranked Northeastern University Huskies, beat the 10th-ranked Harvard University in a shootout by a score of 3-2 to win the tournament.

Not only was Levi named the most valuable player of the tournament, but he also won the Eberly award as well. The Eberly award is given annually to the goalie with the best save percentage in the tournament, as he posted a .956 save percentage.

For Levi, winning awards is nothing new. Last season, he won the Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s top goaltender when he went 21-10-1 with a 1.54 goals-against average, a .952 save percentage, and a fantastic ten shutouts.

In Levi, the Sabres will get a goalie with a lot to offer. For starters, you get a goaltender who has the potential to be extremely consistent.

If you look above, you will see the numbers he posted last season at Northeastern University as a sophomore. Well, he is having another great season this year as he is currently (Wednesday, February 15) 14-9-5 with a 2.30 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage, and four shutouts.

Secondly, he has shown that he can play well on a big stage. The Beanpot is huge in college hockey circles, and Levi dominated the games he played in.

Huskies coach Jerry Keefe spoke glowingly of Levi to NESN after his team’s win over Harvard on Monday night.

“He’s made for these moments,” said Northeastern coach Jerry Keefe of Levi on NESN after the game. “A special kid.”

Levi was also good at the 2021 World Junior Championships for Team Canada. In seven games, he was 6-1 with a 0.75 goals-against average, a .964 save percentage, and three shutouts.

In that tournament, Levi had both the best goals-against average and the best save percentage. He was also named the Best Goaltender of the Tournament by the International Ice Hockey Federation Directorate and was also selected to the tournament All-Star team.

Levi is also a goaltender that, despite being just 6-foot-0, plays big when he is in the net. He knows how to challenge shooters, cut down the angles, is excellent on breakaways, and does not give shooters much to shoot at.

While he will probably have to be groomed a bit in the American Hockey League before joining the Sabres, there is no doubt that this franchise may have their savior in goal in Levi.

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Stanley Cup Aspirations
  2. The Final Countdown
  3. Here Come the Playoffs
  4. Home Stretch
  5. Kevy Cooks

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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