Lightning Links: Vasilevskiy bolting for North America?

Andrey Vasilevskiy

Andrey Vasilevskiy could be coming over to North America now that his KHL contract is up.

The goalie movement is starting early for the Tampa organization after local media picked up on a Russian report that Andrey Vasilevskiy will sign a North American contract soon.

I saw him in prospect camp, shown left, and I was impressed with his size, movement and polish compared to the other goaltenders at the time, which included Kristers Gudelevskis in hand-me-down pads from Latvia. Gudeleveskis’ game has came far, becoming a revelation during the Olympics, but like most young eastern European goalies, he’s a little too explosive with his movements and needs to be refined.

Where is Vasilevskiy’s play and development compared to Gudes? His 2.21 GAA and .932 save percentage is great, good enough to get the team to the conference finals with a 1.99 GAA.

Where all the goaltenders below Ben Bishop on the depth chart remains to be seen. The Lightning gave Lindback a chance with Mathieu Garon then decided to go the all-young tandem to see who rises to the top, Ben Bishop wins so far. Do you give Lindback another shot or go ahead and bring in a cheaper veteran backup, or find an upgrade for veteran AHL backup to replace Cedrick Desjardins, whose contract expires July 1.

With Desjardins gone, that gives you two AHL spots for Gudeleveskis and Vasilevskiy for the goaltending tandem with the most difficult last names to spell in the league or Jaroslav Janus could also leave the KHL and come back to the AHL. The ECHL Everblades and CHL Brampton Beast would be bare in goal, leaving the other organizations who share the affiliations to fill those spots. Oh well.

Let’s hit the links:


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