Sabers sign goaltender Devon Levie to three-year entry-level deal: 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. You need to know the following:

  • In July 2021, the Sabers traded forward Sam Reinhart to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a first-round pick, which became Jiri Kulich, and the rights to Levi. Levi, a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft, had not yet played a college game at Northeastern at the time of the trade.
  • In 2021, Levi set a record with a .964 save percentage at the IIHF World Junior Championships and led Canada to a silver medal.
  • He missed his first college season due to injury. But when he took the ice for the Huskies, he quickly became one of the best goalies in college hockey.

Background story

In 2021-22, 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 after losing to Providence last week.

What does Buffalo have in store for Levi?

Over the past two seasons, Levi has become Buffalo’s best goaltender. General manager Kevyn Adams made it clear how the organization felt about him even after 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 was not going to sign with Buffalo. This fueled the Sabres’ acquisition of Levi.

After the deal was signed, a team source said Levy was scheduled to report to Buffalo. Goaltenders in the minor leagues tend to take longer to develop, while Levi showed special talent at the college level. He is one of three goalies under contract with 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 his future in the organization even better.

“It was unreal,” Levi said The Athletic 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 other players who are already playing in Rochester and Buffalo. It was great to meet everyone and compete with them. It just felt like home being at the rink, meeting and hanging around everyone, whether they were on or off the ice. It was just very cozy. … I had a lot of fun and I’m excited for the future.”

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(Photo: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

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