In this edition of Buffalo Sabres News & Rumors, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen leaves Tuesday’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a lower-body injury, Malcolm Subban sustains an upper-body injury in relief, and Jack Quinn makes his NHL debut before returning to the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Luukkonen Exits With Lower-Body Injury After First Period on Tuesday
Tuesday night’s game, a 6-1 loss to the Lightning, was a very tough one for the Sabres’ goaltending. Emerging star goalie Luukkonen played all 20 minutes of the first period, allowing two goals on nine shots, before exiting the game with a lower-body injury. The Sabres listed the 22-year-old as week-to-week in his recovery. After an incredible start as Buffalo’s starting goaltender, the team will certainly miss his presence in goal while he is out.
Luukkonen has a solid .917 save percentage (SV%) across nine starts in net this season, ranking him 17th among NHL goaltenders with at least five starts. He stepped into Buffalo’s spotlight last month, called up to the NHL after Subban went down with a lower-body injury. The Sabres will rely on Aaron Dell, recalled from the AHL on Wednesday, and Michael Houser, signed to a one-year NHL contract also on Wednesday, to battle for the starting role while Luukkonen recovers.
Subban Listed as Month-to-Month With an Upper-Body Injury
The news for Sabres goaltending only got worse as Tuesday night’s game went on. Coming in to relive the injured Luukkonen, Subban turned aside 23 of 27 shots in the second and third periods. It wasn’t until the day after, on Wednesday, that it was revealed Subban had been injured in the game and will remain out month-to-month with an upper-body injury. In just one night, the Sabres lost its goaltending duo to injuries.
The news is extremely unfortunate for Subban, who sustained and recovered from a lower-body injury just last month. The 28-year-old is looking to establish himself as an NHL regular, but injuries seem to keep getting in the way. In the four games he’s managed to play this season, he has a .871 SV%. Hopefully, his recovery goes well and he earns another shot at the Sabres’ backup goaltending job behind Luukkonen. In the meantime, Dell and Houser will try to hold down the fort.
Quinn Impresses in NHL Debut, Registers Three Shots on Goal
Quinn, selected eighth overall by the Sabres at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, made his NHL debut against the Lightning on Tuesday. While the Sabres didn’t stand much of a chance in the game, eventually falling by a final score of 6-1, the 20-year-old played an impressive, steady game and seemed to fit in well. In fact, his three shots on goal were the most of any Sabres skater in the game.
While Quinn was reassigned to the Americans in the AHL on Wednesday, it likely won’t be long before he plays with the Sabres again. He is having a fantastic season in Rochester, scoring 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 20 games so far. The Americans are ranked second in the North Division, and Quinn is a major reason why the team is having so much success. He is tied for 11th among AHL points-getters, and many players above him have significantly more games played. The future appears to be bright for the young winger, and Sabres fans should be exciting for the next time he wears royal blue and gold.
The Sabres now hit the road against the Nashville Predators, with puck drop on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Buffalo looks to get its first win of 2022 with its newest goaltending duo of Dell and Houser.
Tom Pepper hosts The Hockey Writers Podcast on iHeartRadio and wherever you listen to podcasts, every weekday (Monday to Friday). In addition, he writes the “NHL Sound Bites” and “NHL Talk” columns. He is a diehard Buffalo Sabres fan in Toronto, frequently driving the Queen Elizabeth Way to cheer on his team at KeyBank Center.