2023 Player Report Card: Eric Comrie

2023 Player Report Card: Eric Comrie

The free agent goaltender was expected to become the starter but ultimately became the odd man out.

Total Season Stats: 9-9-1 in 19 games played

Age: 27

Contract Status: Signed through 2023-24, $1.8 million AAV

Before the current season started, Eric Comrie had only started 24 games in his career. General Manager Kevyn Adams took a gamble on the then 26-year-old handing him a two-year contract and an opportunity to become the starter for the Sabres, with veteran Craig Anderson and youngster Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen his only competition.

Unfortunately for the Edmonton native, in his first full season given an opportunity to become the starter, a couple of weeks-long injuries stymied his time in the NHL, and he ended up only featuring 19 times for Buffalo.

His 3.67 GAA and .886 SV% this season were both worse than his career numbers, and while he gave Buffalo a chance to win most nights he dressed, ultimately the Sabres cavalier defense proved to be his undoing as well. Comrie recorded just one shutout this season in his second-last game of the campaign, with the arrival of Devon Levi eventually completely pushing him out of contention. Both his GAA and SV% numbers were also worse than the other three goalies the Sabres dressed this season.  

When he picked up a lower body injury against Ottawa in mid-November, it gave Luukkonen the opportunity to grab the reins with Anderson serving as his back-up. The second injury soon after a ten-goal spanking by Dallas in early March pretty much ended the campaign for him.

While head coach Dan Granato acknowledged that the 6'1", 183-lb goalie has not previously had a streak of injuries like he has this season, the emergence of Levi and Luukkonen leaves the Sabres top brass in an interesting spot. Buffalo were only two points out of a playoff berth, and no doubt are watching the Florida Panthers beating Boston and Toronto with a certain sense of deja that-should-have-been-us vu.

Where the Sabres fell short this season was getting reliable goaltending at critical junctures, and even with the two younger goalies in the stable, will Buffalo still carry three next season? And if so, who will be the third? Should they add a proven starting calibre goalie in free agency or via trade? You can't help but think that whether the Sabres finally end their playoff drought – and how far they progress after that – will be very highly dependent on what they get between the pipes.

Season Grade: C