Buffalo Sabres Need to Demote Nathan Lieuwen, Keep Matt Hackett
With injuries to Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth still hanging around, the Buffalo Sabres need to consider what they plan on doing with the goalie position once one of the usual starters comes back. Despite the fact that Neuvirth looks to be the first goalie to come back from injury, his return date has yet to be established and as such it looks to be the type of injury that will linger and nag the net-minder for a while. When he does come back, the Sabres need to hold onto Matt Hackett and let Nathan Lieuwen go back to the AHL.
Through two starts with a stat-line of 0-2, .887 save percentage and 3.50 GAA, Lieuwen has proven that he is not an NHL level player. This is no more apparent than when he allowed four goals against the Vancouver Canucks, a team that has averaged 2.4 goals per game this season. That loss came in a game in which, if they are to succeed in the future, the Sabres need to garner at least one point from as the Buffalo skaters broke out to a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes of the game.
Lieuwen’s main competition for the backup replacement goalie is Hackett, a former Minnesota Wild goalie. With one start under his belt with the Sabres, Hackett has earned a stat-line of 1-0, .972 save percentage and 1.00 GAA. His lone victory came against a streaky Edmonton Oilers team that was on a two-game win streak. This low scoring victory is precisely the type of performance the Sabres will need to rely on as they score just 1.9 goals per game.