BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen got the call earlier this week to move from Rochester up to the Sabres’ taxi squad.
“It’s been an exciting couple of days for me,” Luukkonen said.
The Sabres prospect got the call after Carter Hutton went down with an injury against the New York Rangers on Monday. Buffalo needed to have a goaltender on the taxi squad since Dustin Tokarski and Michael Houser moved to the active roster with Hutton and Linus Ullmark both injured.
It’s unknown if Luukkonen will even get to play during his time in Buffalo, as the Sabres could just use him to fill the roster spot until Ullmark’s return to the lineup. Still, while he’s here, Luukkonen is soaking up all he can to improve his game.
“It will be a great experience to get to be here,” Luukkonen said. “There’s a lot of great players here, all the coaching staff is really good and there’s a lot to learn from them.”
Ullmark returned to the ice earlier this week to practice with the team. His status for the next few games is still uncertain, but Luukkonen is enjoying the time with the Sabres’ goalie.
“Of course, seeing Linus back on the ice too, there’s a lot to learn from him, too, so I will just try to focus on those things and the things that they tell me to do so as I said there’s going to be a lot to learn from here,” Luukkonen said.
Luukkonen spent time playing in Finland while waiting for the AHL season to begin, and he said that experience helped him. Now that he’s back, he can learn even more from the guys around him.
“Being back in a professional environment you learn from the older guys and become more professional and you know how to be a better goalie and a better player all around,” Luukkonen said.
For now, Luukkonen’s on the taxi squad, but this experience could help him get even better as he hopes for an NHL career down the road.
The Sabres next play the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night at 8 p.m.