The Buffalo Sabres signed goalie 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 Sabres 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, hadn’t yet played 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.
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 came back 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’s Buffalo’s plan for Levi?
Over the course of the last two seasons, Levi has become Buffalo’s top goalie 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 goalie prospect Erik Portillo to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third-round pick after Portillo made clear he did not intend to sign with Buffalo. That put even more importance on the Sabres signing Levi.
With the contract signed, a team source said the plan is for Levi to report to Buffalo. While goalies typically take longer to develop in the minor leagues, Levi showed special talent at the collegiate level. He’s one of three goalies under contract for the Sabres next season, joining 24-year-old Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Eric Comrie.
Last summer, Levi got his first hands-on experience with the Sabres organization at Buffalo’s development camp. It was then that he started to feel even better about his future in the organization.
“It was unreal,” Levi told The Athletic in November. “It was the best week ever. It was so fun. Everyone there was so nice, the players and the staff. It was great meeting fellow prospects and fellow players who already play 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 it was on the ice or off the ice. It was just very homey. … I had a really great time and I’m excited for the future.”
(Photo: Rich Gagnon / Getty Images)
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