The Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark will miss at least tonight’s game vs the Washington Capitals. The team still does not have an update on their starting netminder. He left early in Tuesday’s contest vs the Boston Bruins. The club announced Dustin Tokarski as the starter for tonight’s game.
Dustin Tokarski will start in net tonight against the Capitals, per interim head coach Don Granato.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 15, 2021
Sabres Linus Ullmark Injured
This is very sad as Ullmark is the only true bright spot in an otherwise abysmal 2020-21. The 27-year-old goalie had appeared in 19 games prior to this injury with a .917 save percentage and 2.64 goals-against-average. Those are very good numbers when you consider that he is playing behind one of the worst defences in hockey. Some of the peripheral stats aren’t spectacular, but the raw numbers are easily the best of any Sabres netminder this year.
Buffalo originally drafted Ullmark in the sixth round of the 2012 Draft and has watched the Swede develop into one of the better goaltenders since Ryan Miller left the franchise in 2014. Ullmark’s 50 wins are 11th in franchise history and he in the top 15 for both save percentage and goals-against. He’s much closer to the top of the leaderboard in multiple categories when you exclude players who only appeared in handfuls of games. Nobody will confuse Ullmark for Miller or Dominik Hasek, but he’s been quite solid for the Atlantic Division franchise.
How Buffalo Replaces Ullmark
There are no good or even average options to replace Ullmark. The main backup is Carter Hutton, however, he is injured as well and has struggled mightily this year. He has a save percentage of just .886 with a 3.47 goals-against. Both of those figures are career-worsts. It doesn’t get much better if Dustin Tokarski or Michael Houser start either.
If the team struggles any more in the net, it might be time to see if Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is ready for a role. The former second-round pick is the team’s best prospect at the position. He’s struggled in the AHL, he remains the team’s most promising option. There is very little to lose by not trying him out as the season winds down if Ullmark is out long-term.