Sabers sign goaltender Devon Levi to 3-year entry-level contract: What’s Buffalo’s plan for him?

The Buffalo Sabers signed goaltending prospect Devon Levi to a three-year entry-level contract less than a week after his college season at Northeastern ended, the team announced Friday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • In July 2021, the Sabers traded forward Sam Reinhart to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a first-round pick that became Jiri Kulich and the rights to Levi. At the time of the trade, Levi, a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, had yet to play a college game for Northeastern.
  • In 2021, Levi set a record with a .964 save percentage at the IIHF World Junior Championship while leading Canada to a silver medal.
  • He missed his first collegiate season with an injury. But when he took the ice for the Huskies, he quickly became one of the top goalies in college hockey.

Back story

In the 2021-22 season, Levi had 10 shutouts, a .952 save percentage and a 1.54 goals-against average while leading Northeastern to the NCAA Tournament.

He returned to school this season and had four shutouts, a .933 save percentage and a 2.24 goals against average. The Huskies were eliminated in the Hockey East quarterfinals when they lost to Providence last week.

What is Buffalo’s plan for Levi?

Over the past two seasons, Levi has become Buffalo’s top goaltending prospect. General manager Kevyn Adams made it clear how the organization felt about him as recently as the trade deadline when he said Levi is “a really, really important piece for us.”

At the deadline, Buffalo traded the rights to goaltending prospect Erik Portillo to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third-round pick after Portillo made it clear he had no intention of signing with Buffalo. That put even more weight on the Sabers signing Levi.

With the contract signed, a team source said the plan is for Levi to report to Buffalo. While goaltenders typically take longer to develop in the minor leagues, Levi showed particular talent at the collegiate level. He is one of three goalies under contract for the Sabers next season, joining 24-year-old Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Eric Comrie.

Last summer, Levi got his first hands-on experience with the Sabers organization at Buffalo’s development camp. That’s when he started to feel even better about his future with the organization.

“It was unreal,” Levi shared Athletics In November. “It was the best week ever. It was so much fun. Everyone there was so nice, the players and the staff. It was great to meet other prospects and fellow players who are already playing in Rochester and Buffalo. It was great to meet everyone and compete with them. It just felt like being at home at the rink, meeting and hanging out with everyone, whether it was on the ice or off the ice. It was just very homey. … I had a great time and I’m excited for the future. ”

Required reading

(Photo: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

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