Hellebuyck is the Rare Goalie Worth the Acquisition Cost

Finding an upgrade in goal is perhaps the most pressing need of the offseason for Kevyn Adams and the Buffalo Sabres. The sting of missing the playoffs by such a narrow margin is only that much more frustrating when you think of the number of games that slipped away due to leaky goals and below average goaltending.

Devon Levi certainly didn’t wilt under the spotlight after making his NHL debut, and he’ll have the inside track at one of the NHL roster spots come training camp. Who the team chooses to play in tandem with him will be an extremely important decision. It seems unfair to expect Levi to take the bulk of the starts at just 21. Not only would it be unfair to him to add that much more pressure to the situation, but the team would be asking him to take on a workload (45-plus starts) he was ever asked to handle between college or junior.

The incumbents, Eric Comrie and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, provide some insurance for the club, though neither truly impressed last year. At even strength, the pair finished with a -5.6 and -7.1 goals saved above expected, respectively. To expect either to share any notable level of workload with Levi – let alone starter’s duties – would be a significant gamble for a team with playoff aspirations in 2023-24.

Assuming the team agrees that neither Luukkonen or Comrie have the ability to provide Levi with a stable partner, they’ll need to mine free agency or the trade market for a suitable option. Perhaps the most notable name that has been floated is Connor Hellebuyck, the perennial Vezina candidate with one more year left on his contract at $6.16 million cap hit. Hellebuyck’s rumored availability has sparked a fair bit of debate over his contract status, workload and acquisition cost.

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The Instigator Podcast 11.35 – Sniffing Out the Hellebuyck Smoke

The Conference Finals are set to begin and we run through the matchups in the East and West, giving our outlook on both series. We transition to a discussion about Connor Hellebuyck and the fresh rumors connecting him to the Sabres.

The Instigator Podcast is sponsored by Betstamp. Download the Betstamp app by visiting betstamp.app/instigator