UPL could compete for starting goaltender job in training camp

Sports

Buffalo Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – When Linus Ullmark signed with Boston, the Sabres were left with a gap in net. They brought in a pair of veterans in Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell to potentially fill that gap in the interim. However, Kevyn Adams made it clear that there will be a competition for the top spot when training camp starts later this year.

It could actually be a four-man race involving Anderson, Dell, Dustin Tokarski and young goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. While some might have considered UPL to be a guy to look at down the road, Adams isn’t counting the 22-year-old out of the race for the number one goalie.

“We don’t want to box players out at any position, we want to make sure that guys like UPL, when they’re ready they have the opportunity, but we have competition there and so all that played into it and we’ll see how it goes, it’s going to be guys competing for a spot, that’s what we’ll see in training camp,” Adams said.

The Sabres aren’t necessarily cashing all their chips in on UPL just yet. He could still spend a good chunk of the season in Rochester to continue development, but with the way he played last year and the youth movement on the way, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Sabres went all in on the youngster in the near future.

Their roster isn’t set in stone, however. They could still trade for a goalie or add another via free agency. Adams didn’t leave anything off the table.

“You keep your eye on guys that maybe could be available at the end of a training camp and we’ll evaluate that, but we feel good with the players of where we got to and I want to make it clear we have no timeline on a young player like a UPL,” Adams said. “If we feel that he’s ready to go, we don’t want to hold him back, but everything has to be earned so we’ll just see how that plays out.”

Training camp isn’t for another several weeks, but it’s already got an interesting storyline heading in.

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