Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – Buffalo Sabres' new goalie Devon Levi is in town, but still couldn’t practice on Monday due to immigration issues. Levi watched practice along with injured defenseman Mattias Samuelsson.
After taking in Monday's practice, Levi says he knew he wanted to be a member of the Sabres after speaking with general manager Kevyn Adams.
"The way that Kevyn has brought me in and showed me his vision, I share a lot of the same morals and vision that he does. He’s doing it the right way," said Levi during his introductory press conference on Monday.
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“It was a decision that I took my time with, to make sure it was the right one, but it was an easy decision. I felt in my heart that I wanted to be a Sabre, and I’m so happy to be here.”
Levi played with Dylan Cozens, Jack Quinn, Peyton Krebs and Owen Power with Team Canada, and was here for Development Camp this past summer. He knows all that will help him now that he’s here.
“I got so comfortable being here, just knowing the facilities, knowing the guys, the staff. It was such a great experience, and that week was an amazing week," Levi said. "I was sad to leave, and I’m so glad to be back, because it feels like home.”
Two goalies come to mind that wore No. 27 in the NHL: Ron Hextall and Gilles Meloche. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has the No. 1 with the Sabres, so Levi had to pivot.
“It was my number of choice (27), because growing up, it was my favorite number. I feel like little me would be happy that I chose this number,” he said.
Levi’s college numbers in two seasons at Northeastern were eye-popping, as he had a 1.90 goals-against average and a .942 career save percentage.
The 21-year-old is a small goaltender, compared to most goalies these days that are 6-foot-4 or bigger. Levi says how tall you are doesn’t matter in today's game.
“Height and weight is just a numbers game, and an analytical aspect of a game that you can’t really put into a box," he said. "You’ve got to go out there and keep the puck out of the net, and there’s so many ways to do it. There are so many guys that did it differently, and at the end of the day, it’s just if it crosses the line or not.”
Levi thought it was important to sign and to get to Buffalo. It gives him time to sit with a veteran goaltender like Craig Anderson.
“One of the big reasons I decided to come to Buffalo for the end of the season is because I feel like in this month, I can get a years worth of development out of this,” Levi said
It’s been over a week since Levi played in a game, so he thinks after a few practices, he’ll be ready to play.
Levi remains enrolled in four classes and is doing them online. He says he will eventually graduate and get his degree.
Levi is from Montreal, so, of course, he has players he admired as a kid.
“Growing up, I watched a lot of Carey Price. I got to see him play in-person, and he sparked my love for the game, just seeing how good he was," Levi said. "I met Roberto Luongo when I was a little kid, and that was really cool, because he was also someone I looked up to.”
As Levi watched practice, he sat behind the net and was very intensely studying. That’s something Granato noticed right away.
“To take the initiative to walk up into the stands by yourself and see him studying, Devon approaches his position very seriously,” said Granato on Monday.
Granato says Levi needs to break in brand new equipment that needs to be measured and approved by the NHL, and it’s not all in yet. At this point, nobody knows when he’ll play just yet.