Leading into games two and three for the Rochester Americans in the Calder Cup playoffs there was a discussion on whether or not they needed a change in goalies. This morning we learned why there wasn’t a change. The team announced that Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen had successful hip surgery and is expected to make a full recovery within six months.
This wasn’t known until otherwise there wouldn’t have been questions about why he wasn’t a potential starter in game three. Had it been known there wouldn’t have been any questions. Luukkonen had played in the final game of the regular season for the Amerks which is what fueled questions since he appeared ready to play.
Luukkonen had been with the Amerks up until this past Saturday putting in work on the ice after team practices. He had limited his practice time since the World Juniors according to Kris Baker (reliable source). His expected return is between Halloween and American Thanksgiving.
Jonas Johansson ended his season early in Cincinnati after undergoing knee surgery.
This news creates a bigger need for a veteran goalie to not only assist in Rochester but also to be ready as a potential third goalie in the NHL should the Sabres have a need. Scott Wedgewood had success in the regular season but there’ll have to be discussions on whether or not he’s the best free agent option available to fill the role.
UPL undergoes hip procedure; six-month recovery ahead >> https://t.co/cU0KtEPCXs
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) April 25, 2019
Rochester Americans Press Release:
Rochester Americans General Manager Randy Sexton announced today that goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has undergone successful hip surgery.
“Ukko-Pekka underwent hip surgery in New York and is expected to make a full recovery within the next six months. We were very pleased with his professional debut in Belleville and look forward to a strong off-season of training as he begins the rehabilitation process,” said Sexton.
A 20-year-old native of Espoo, Finland, Luukkonen made his professional debut in Rochester’s regular-season finale at Belleville on April 14, making 32 saves to earn his first pro win.
He completed his first season with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League in 2018-19, posting a 38-11-2-2 record in 53 appearances, leading the league in in both wins (38) and shutouts (6). He also finished second and third among all OHL netminders with a .920 save percentage and a 2.50 goals-against average, respectively, while his 38 wins set a franchise record for the Wolves, who advanced to the postseason for the second time in three years following a second-place finish in the OHL’s Central Division.
The 6-foot-5, 212-pound netminder also compiled a 4-3 record with a 3.27 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in eight playoff games for Sudbury.
He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the second-round (54th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.