PITTSBURGH – With the free agent frenzy ending July 28 and Linus Ullmark en route to Boston, the Buffalo Sabers signed two last-minute signings to fill the goal gap.
Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell, both accomplished goaltenders in the National Hockey League, joined the club on a one-year contract of $ 750,000. Anderson, 40, played well for the Washington Capitals last season, and the Sabers wanted to see if Dell could rediscover his level of play for most of his time in San Jose from 2016 to 2020.
And the Sabers haven’t ruled out handing over the reins to prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen if the 22-year-old has a solid training camp under coach Don Granato. However, five games from the pre-season, it was companion Dustin Tokarski who distinguished himself in the club’s goalkeeper competition.
Tokarski, a 32-year-old who spent nearly four years between NHL games, stopped 15 of 16 shots in the Sabers’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night. In three preseason appearances, Tokarski compiled a .965 save percentage, allowing just two goals on 37 shots.
“I’m focused on what I can control and that’s my game – my level of detail on and off the ice,” Tokarski told the Buffalo News.
When Tokarski joined the Sabers on a two-year, $ 1.5 million contract in October 2020, the signing was largely ignored. One of the reasons for his arrival was to meet the club’s requirements for the Seattle expansion draft, but he also had an outstanding career in the American Hockey League. He won two Calder Cups, most recently as a substitute with Charlotte in 2019, and was expected to share the net with Luukkonen in Rochester.