Given the Sabres’ recent goaltending woes, the rebuilding team could be forced to award prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen a look soon.
Maybe Luukkonen would stay for just a game or two. Or perhaps he might receive regular action while No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson, 40, recovers from his upper-body injury.
The Sabres, as evidenced by the ugly 2-9-1 streak they carry into Friday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens at KeyBank Center, need help everywhere. But right now, goaltending is their most pressing need.
Recalling Luukkonen, 22, from the Rochester Americans would be their easiest option. In 10 games since Anderson was injured Nov. 2, the Sabres have allowed an NHL-high 44 goals. Something must change soon.
Luukkonen backstopped the Amerks to a 4-2 win Wednesday in Utica, making 29 saves as the Comets lost for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, Aaron Dell, who seemed to be finding a bit of a groove, was yanked after giving up four first-period goals in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss. He looked shaky against the Boston Bruins, falling to 0-4-0 this season.
So far, Dell, 32, has registered an awful .862 save percentage, the second-worst number among goalies who have played five or more games.
Dell’s replacement for the final 40 minutes, Dustin Tokarski, stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced. After getting pulled from two straight starts – the first outing he was hung out to dry – Tokarski enjoyed a strong bounce-back effort.
Tokarski, 32, has mostly subbed admirably for Anderson, who’s week to week. Overall this season, Tokarski has compiled a .906 save percentage.
But the Sabres have a jam-packed schedule. They also play Saturday on the road against the Detroit Red Wings and Monday at home against the Seattle Kraken.
Tokarski has never played more than 17 games in a big league season. Even in his 13th pro campaign, he’s a bit of an unknown.
Of course, Luukkonen, having compiled a 5-6-1 record with a 3.46 goals-against average and an .883 save percentage in 11 games, hasn’t made the strongest case to be recalled.