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“It Feels Like Home”: Devon Levi Introduced to Buffalo

Goaltender Devon Levi has officially made his way to Buffalo.

The 21-year-old isn’t able to skate with the Buffalo Sabres yet, as he awaits immigration paperwork that gives him a work visa. (That also officially allows him to sign his actual contract). But, he’s in Buffalo and watched practice on Monday morning, and should be able to really join the team later this week – possibly as soon as tomorrow.

In the meantime, he is continuing his studies – he’s doing four classes online right now – and plans to get his degree in due time, chipping away at it slowly as he dives into the world of playing professional hockey.

Levi was introduced to the media on Monday morning in a full press conference. He spoke on a variety of topics, including how he grew up watching Carey Price and Roberto Luongo, being drafted by the Panthers (and Luongo!), coming to Buffalo and more.

You can watch the 17-minute-long availability here, or stick around below for highlights:

On his season at Northeastern:

“It’s about consistency. You see so many guys at this level, they have a good year, and then the next year is harder. It’s hard to put two, three good seasons together. It’s hard to stay consistent, even through a few games. That was a challenge that I was excited to face. It’s forced me to be consistent, to grow as a person and as a goalie.”

On his decision to sign in Buffalo now:

“It was a decision that I took my time to make sure it was the right one. When I made up my mind, it was an easy decision. I just felt in my heart that I wanted to be a Sabre. I’m so happy to be here.”

“I wasn’t exactly a hundred percent sure what I was gonna do at the end of the year. I’m the type of guy that just goes one day at a time, show up to the rink, make sure I’m giving a hundred percent effort and doing everything I can to stop the puck that’s in front of me. Every day’s a new day. I knew eventually, I would get to the day where I have to make a decision, and when that day came, I had the information I needed to make the right one.”

“I feel like in this month, month or so that I’m here, I think I could get a year’s worth of development out of [that.] I’m just really excited, facing these shots, being with NHL players, Mike Bales, NHL goaltending coach. Just being around the guys, learning how to be a pro, more than I already know how to do. It’s just all great for maturing and my development.”

On the Sabres:

“The organization is just such a good organization… Kevin has brought me in and showed me his vision. I share a lot of the same morals and visions that he does, with his group. He’s trying to get a lot of good people, not only good hockey players, but just quality human beings. He’s doing it the right way.

(Levi also said he had a Zoom call last week that included Kevyn Adams, Don Granato, Seth Appert, player development & goalie coaches, and captain Kyle Okposo, along with Levi’s parents and agents.)

On choosing jersey number 27:

“Growing up, it was my favorite number. I feel like little me would be happy that I chose this number, just dreaming about playing in the NHL. It’s the day of my birthday. It’s my dad’s birthday also. My house address was 127, so number 27 was just big in my life when I was a kid. Thought I’d bring it back.”

On being compared to Connor Hellebucyk & Ryan Miller:

“It’s pretty cool to be in the company of such amazing goaltenders. During the season, I try not to look at my stats, just because personally, I think the only stat that matters is the win column. Save percentage… something that I just look at the end of the year.

There are a lot of amazing goaltenders that went through college hockey, that had amazing careers and are still having amazing NHL careers. It’s cool to be compared to these guys. It’s definitely an honor.”

On being perhaps a bit smaller than other goalies:

“The guy that can do it the best is the guy that’s gonna play. Height, weight, whatever, this, that, it’s a numbers game. It’s an analytical aspect of a game that you can’t really put into a box and just dissect. You gotta just go out there and keep the puck out of the net, and there’s so many different ways to do it. There’s so many guys that did it differently… at the end of the day, it’s just whether it’s across the line or not.

I feel like I was born to do this. It’s my passion. I got out every day with the will to stop the guy that’s coming down on me. It’s the most fun thing in the world for me. I’m still growing, still getting better, still finding better way to play and improve my game. I’m just really excited to be facing the best of the best. I know it’s gonna push my game further, and I’m excited for that.”

On expectations:

“The great thing about expectations is they’re not real. They’re just what people are talking about. It’s talk about the future. The way that I’ve always dealt with expectations is kind of not dealing with them. It’s just talk. Everyone’s gonna have something to say. I love the fans, I’m super excited to be able to play in front of them…

.. At the same time, like going back to Northeastern, there’s a lot of expectation that I gotta have another great year and this and that, but for me, it’s just, I’m just gonna go out and do the thing that I love, stop the puck. I trust that the outcomes are gonna take care of themselves.

I have expectations for myself about my attitude and about how I approach the game. Those are the only expectations… that I hold myself to.”

On learning from Craig Anderson:

“I’m just trying to pick his brain as much as I can. There’s a reason he’s 41 and still in the game, having a lot of success. I made my decision to come here because this could be his last year. To be able to be goalie partners with him and be around the rink with him, it’s something that I value and that I could get a lot out of. He’s been great… taking me under his wing a little.

It’s been great to ask him questions and learn the way that he thinks the game, because he’s such a good goalie. So smart, so good at reading the play. We have a great relationship & I’m excited to explore further.”