It’s taken a little longer than usual due to the late-November launch of the Sabres alternate jersey but all the different sets of gear worn by Buffalo’s goaltenders have now seen the ice (with the exception of Eric Comrie’s black and red setup).
The black and red uniforms offer a great shift for the team’s netminders, providing a drastically different look for each when the team wears their new third jersey. Perhaps we will see more mask art or pads for the team’s Reverse Retro jerseys, but for now each goalie has sported two different sets on the year. It offers a great variety of looks and there’s a similar collection of mask art to admire. I’ve included Rochester’s goaltenders in the mix as well since more gear is always more fun.
The Sabres goaltending woes have continued for a second-straight season as the injury bug has bitten the team hard. We discuss the most recent injuries to Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Malcolm Subban and what it means for Buffalo’s outlook. We also discuss Jack Quinn’s NHL debut and the promise he showed in his first game for the Sabres. The show opens with a discussion of Evander Kane’s latest exploits and whether or not the Oilers should be pursuing him as hard as they appear to be.
Back with another edition of the 2ITB Mailbag. Thanks to those who wrote in and if you want to participate in the next one, send me a tweet tagged with #2ITBmailbag.
@passoffpads – The year is 2025 and the Sabres are preparing for the Stanley Cup Finals (because even we can dream). Who is the goalie? Who is the captain? Who is the leading scorer? Who is the coach?
Let me just start by saying, I love your optimism. If the Sabres are a Cup contender in the 24-25 season, quite a few things will have needed to go right for them. The 2020 and 21 drafts will need to be paying dividends and the picks they’re set to make next June and in 2023 may have a say in that as well. I think Don Granato would still be the coach in this scenario, as the ramp up to Cup contender in that 24-25 season (or 25-26) would need to start in October of 2022. The likes of Owen Power, Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka will need to fill big roles and Granato will be the one welcoming them to the league next fall, so it’s only logical to conclude that the Sabres would be riding a wave that he helped start.
COVID outbreaks continue to impact the NHL schedule as this week has seen a number of teams impacted by positive tests and game postponements. We discuss how these most recent outbreaks are affecting the NHL schedule and what influence it may have on the league’s ability to send players to the Olympics. Also on the docket is the impressive play of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and how he may be influencing Buffalo’s choices in net. Lastly, we touch on the World Junior Championships rosters, the Sabres prospects expected to participate and who we predict to take home gold in this year’s tournament.
Malcolm Subban has been acquired, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has been recalled and there’s still no end in sight for Buffalo’s issues in net. We discuss what options are left to the Sabres as they navigate an injury crisis to their goaltenders and how it could affect the remainder of the season. Along the way we touch on the latest round of firings as Jim Benning and Travis Green are out in Vancouver and Alain Vigneault has been fired by the Flyers.
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The Sabres are set to enter the year with a 40-year old who nearly retired and a 32 year old who, up until the spring, hadn’t seen NHL action in four seasons. It’s an unenviable position to be in. And one that is indicative of the larger issues the Sabres are expected to face this year.
Of course, it isn’t exactly surprising either.
When the dust settled on July 29 and the Sabres we left with Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell as their prizes from the goaltending carousel, it became evident that Buffalo wouldn’t be counting on their goalies to steal them many games. That one of their two offseason acquisitions has now been moved to Rochester is even less encouraging.
Short of completely forgetting how to play the position, Anderson was always going to enter the season as Buffalo’s starter. It was the backup position that was truly up in that air. Though I think anyone inside KeyBank Center would have told you Dell and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen were the only two true competitors ahead of camp.
It’s gone a completely different direction since. Dell was downright dreadful, and reports have now surfaced that the Sabres aren’t happy with how he arrived in camp. Meanwhile, UPL simply couldn’t grab the reins. He’d put in a good period here or there but his larger body of work just wasn’t good enough. Much like his four-game audition last year, he turned in some quality play but at the end of the day, too many pucks wound up behind him.
We’re kicking off season 10 of the podcast by breaking down the roster and outlook for this weekend’s Prospects Challenge. We take a look at some of the bigger names on Buffalo’s roster for the event and who we’re excited about seeing on Friday and Saturday. We discuss some of the tournament invites and if any of them could challenge for a contract in the future. We also touch on the new COVID mandates announced by the Bills and Sabres and how that will affect things moving forward this season.
There has been a whole lot said about Jack Eichel over the last few years – and this year in particular. We try and encapsulate some of that conversation related to the Sabres star as we analyze how badly the Sabres miss him on the ice, some of the questionable opinions that exist about him publicly and also the potential that he could be traded. Not only do we discuss the idea that Eichel could be moved but what a trade would look like and how it could affect the club in both the short and long term. Also on this week’s show is a discussion on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and his NHL debut.
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Under normal circumstances the Sabres goaltending depth chart would have been difficult to navigate this year. Prior to the confirmation that teams would be operating with a taxi squad it was looking like it could be a problem.
While Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark are effectively locked in as the top two goalies, finding appropriate playing time for Jonas Johansson, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Dustin Tokarski was going to require creativity. In a typical regular season the Sabres would have the ability to split their minor league goaltenders between Rochester and Cincinnati, easing the burden on the Amerks’ coaching staff to get the right players enough playing time. With Cincinnati not participating this season, the potential for a three-headed monster in the Rochester crease could have been cause for concern.
Aside from finding the right tandem in Buffalo to give the Sabres the best opportunity to end their playoff drought, the most important task with Buffalo’s goaltenders is the development of Luukkonen. It seems unlikely that he would have been destined for Cincinnati given the strides he took last year, though the Cyclones would have been a vital relief valve for the organization to utilize to prevent any one goalie from sitting too long. Continue reading →
Kris Baker joins this week’s show as we look ahead to the World Junior Championship and the various Sabres prospects who will be participating in this year’s tournament. Also on tap is a look at the decision to send Casey Mittelstadt to Rochester and how Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has looked since returning from injury.
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