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Buffalo Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #11 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

Time to shine for UPL

Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of six staff writers and over 485 fans that ranked players under the age of 25 as of August 10, 2021. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.

The former OHL MVP has slipped to #11 in this year’s ranking. Looks like the staff rank is heavily skewed by me and my doubt, so I apologize to the onslaught coming!

For me, we haven’t seen much of anything of UPL since leaving the Ontario Hockey League and I have no reason to vote him much higher than that of Levi and Portillo. This will be UPL’s third pro season and his only respectable stat line is his 23 game stint in the ECHL (23 GP, 912 SV%). In 24 AHL games over two AHL seasons, UPL’s save percentage was 40 points lower than that of Jonas Johansson, who was moved last season for a 6th rounder and was, at best, laughed at during his NHL stint here.

Last season for the Amerks, UPL did not out perform Dustin Tokarski and Michael Houser and had only a 15 point margin on the Amerks fourth best goalie, Stefanos Lekkos, who is likely headed to the ECHL this season.

Some shining light? In his 4 games starting for the Buffalo Sabres, UPL performed as well as Tokarski and Houser while clearly separating himself from Hutton and Johansson, two goalies we hope to not see starting any time soon.

So, no need to bail on him or lose all faith. But, it’ll be tough. The forward core is young in front of him. The defense will likely be even younger after the trade deadline, we’ll see if UPL can cover the mistakes that will likely be presented in front of him.

We need a long term goalie and UPL is the only one that can be that guy for us. Ready for him to make me look stupid and him snag the starting job in camp.

#25 Casey Fitzgerald
#24 Aaron Huglen
#23 Linus Weissbach
#22 Aleksandr Kisakov
#21 Albert Lyckåsen
#20 Erik Portillo
#19 Devon Levi
#18 Matej Pekar
#17 Oskari Laaksonen
#16 Isak Rosen
#15 Jacob Bryson
#14 Ryan Johnson
#13 Mattias Samuelsson
#12 Tage Thompson