The Sabres released an updated injury list on Wednesday morning and of the seven players listed four were goaltenders. Four!
We already knew that Craig Anderson (month-to-month) and Dustin Tokarski (COVID-19 protocol) were out, which is why Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen started nine of the last 11 games. But Buffalo’s 6-1 drubbing against the Lightning on Tuesday ended with two more goalies hurt.
Luukkonen exited in the first period after allowing two goals on nine shots. He’s considered “week-to-week” with a lower-body injury. Malcolm Subban, who was added to the mix via trade in early December, came in relief and let in four goals on 27 shots over the final two periods. Now he’s out “month-to-month” with an upper-body injury.
Who are the Sabres’ healthy goaltenders now? The team recalled both Aaron Dell and Michael Houser from AHL Rochester to handle the workload going forward. Houser was on an AHL deal, so he signed a one-year, $750,000 NHL contract.
This is a familiar situation for the Sabres. Last season they used six goalies, including the 29-year-old Houser, who ended up winning this first two NHL starts. The franchise also needed six in 2013-14 when they finished last in the NHL.
If Houser plays a game he would be the team’s sixth this year as they approach the Flyers’ NHL record of eight goaltenders used in a single season, which they needed to do in 2018-19.
“I’m very grateful for the Sabres organization,” Houser said Wednesday. “They gave me my first chance in the NHL and have still been giving me chances. It’s my job to take these chances and try to run with them as best I can.”