UPDATE: The Buffalo Sabres have signed goaltender Devon Levi to a three-year, entry-level contract. The team announced the news at 1:53 p.m. Friday.
Now, it’s a matter of seeing whether Levi will join the NHL team right away or sign an ATO with the Amerks.
IT’S OFFICIAL— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 17, 2023
We have signed goaltender Devon Levi to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Details: https://t.co/22Xft5qeGB#LetsGoBuffalo | @DevonLevi33 pic.twitter.com/HENZ722heq
The below information was posted at 11:58 a.m. on Friday, March 17, a few hours before Levi’s signing was announced.
Since Devon Levi and his Northeastern team’s season seemingly ended last weekend, Buffalo Sabres fans have been waiting with bated breath on the goaltender’s future. Northeastern is not likely to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, so Levi’s season is most likely over, leaving him with several options.
The questions now are: what is best for Levi? What’s best for the Sabres? And which option will he - and, in part, Sabres GM Kevyn Adams - choose to go with?
Option #1: Coming to Buffalo, Now
Levi could sign an entry-level contract to begin immediately with the NHL club. This would allow him to make the jump right to the NHL, right now. He could join the Sabres immediately.
I find this option to probably be the least likely, at least from Levi’s standpoint. It all depends on what he wants and if he feels comfortable jumping right into the NHL from college. If he’d prefer to give it some time and possibly play in the AHL for a bit, this wouldn’t be the option to go with.
It’s also a matter of how the Sabres would then juggle having even more goalies than they already do, though with Eric Comrie currently sidelined, perhaps this is less of a problem. Part of the factor here also has to be Levi’s comfort level with coming to the NHL straight from college, as well as what the Sabres’ playoff hopes look like.
A note here: if he chooses this option, he would not be eligible to join the Amerks for the playoffs.
Option #2: Sign & Go to Rochester Now
What seems like the most likely option would be for Levi to sign his entry-level deal with the Sabres to start next season, then join the AHL’s Rochester Americans on an amateur tryout (ATO) for the rest of the current season.
The Amerks do already have two goalies in Malcolm Subban and Michael Houser, but there’s no reason Levi couldn’t become part of the rotation. It would be a lower-pressure situation for him than just coming right to the NHL, and would allow Seth Appert & his crew to work with Levi to give him the minutes he wants & deserves, particularly as the season goes on.
Option #3: Sign for Next Season
Levi could choose to sign his entry-level contract beginning next season, and not sign an ATO with Rochester. This seems incredibly unlikely, but it’s not impossible.
Option #4: Return to School
There is, of course, the option that Levi could choose to return for his senior season with the Huskies. He could do this simply because he wants to play another year of college hockey, and have another chance at an NCAA Tournament run. As much as there is to be said about the benefits of going pro, some players may also enjoy college and college hockey and the camaraderie that comes with it, and we can’t fault them for that. (No, we really can’t.)
Of course, this option would also gives Levi essentially the chance to choose his NHL team after next season, something we’ve seen other players do in the past. It comes down to what kind of future he wants, and what kind of future he sees for himself within the Sabres organization.
We’re Still Waiting
With both the NHL and AHL regular seasons beginning to wind down, we should know more about what Levi chooses in the coming days. If he wants to join the Amerks for what could be a deep playoff run, there’s an option for that. If he wants to suit up in the NHL right away, there’s an option for that. If he wants to take his time and figure it out - well, there are options for that, too.