Remember that one episode in SpongeBob Squarepants where Squidward was on his back and said ,”future” over and over again? That’s what Buffalo Sabres fans will be saying tomorrow night. Earlier this morning, interim head coach Don Granato announced that goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will make his NHL debut tomorrow night against the Boston Bruins.
The 22 year old from Finland was drafted by Buffalo in the second round during the 2017 NHL Draft and has been developing in the Sabres minor league system. According to Elite Hockey Prospects, the man they call UPL started with Buffalo’s ECHL affiliate the Cincinnati Cyclones during the 2019-2020 season. He had a record of 12-7-3, with a save percentage of .912 and a goal against average of 2.24. He also registered three shutouts with the Cyclones. During the same season, he got called up to the Rochester Americans of the AHL and finished with a 3-4-4 record, a save percentage of .874 and his goals against average was 3.15.
Up until this week, UPL spent the 2020-2021 season with Rochester. The 2017 second round pick went 7-5-3 with the Americans, posting a save percentage of .888 and a goals against average of 3.60. It will be interesting to see him play tomorrow and see how he performs at the NHL level.
I am excited to see UPL play tomorrow. With Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark being unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, Sabres management is hopeful Ukko will be the goalie of the future, depending on what happens with Ullmark. We’ll see what transpires tomorrow night but the Bruins are a great test to see what kind of goalie the Sabres have been developing the last few years.
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-Zach Jezioro (@ZachJezioro_13)