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:
- Yzerman: “We’ve been in discussions with Andrey’s agent and are hopeful that we can agree to a contract in the near future.” Damian Cristodero | Tampa Bay Times
- “Как стало известно Sports.ru, голкипер «Салавата Юлаева» Андрей Василевский не намерен принимать квалификационное предложение уфимского клуба о новом контракте и продолжит карьеру в Северной Америке.” Oh, I’m sorry. You want something you can read:
- “As it became known Sports.ru, goalkeeper of “Salavat Yulaev” Andrei Vasilevsky does not intend to make a qualifying offer Ufa club about a new contract and will continue his career in North America.” Sports.ru
- Sometimes you have to state the obvious: Both Gudes and Vasilevskiy need time to develop. Clare Austin | Raw Charge
- Ryan Malone pleads not guilty to his DUI and cocaine charges. Well, his lawyer did. Malone wasn’t in court, presumably at the league behavioral health program. Erik Erlendsson | Tampa Tribune
- His driving on a suspended license charge from an earlier case was dropped. Damian Cristodero | Tampa Tribune
- Jaroslav Janus hopes to get some time on the Slovak team for the World Championships. Sport.sk
- Former Lightning coach John Tortorella is now former Vancouver Canucks coach. Canucks.NHL.com
- “They’re good people, and they’re good coaches,” Canucks president Trevor Linden said about Torts and assistant Mike Sullivan, who was also let go. Canucks.NHL.com
- The Lightning are running a Fan’s Choice Awards for best players of the season. Lightning.NHL.com
- Bolts play-by-play team continue their season roundtable discussion. Lightning.NHL.com
- Hart Trophy finalists announced Thursday. You’d have to think Martin St. Louis would have made list if he didn’t leave Tampa. NHL.com
- Another piece on those Black Aces never making it to Tampa. Allokago | Raw Charge
- The Orlando Solar Bears keep their head up after making playoffs in second ECHL season. Bryan Levine | Orlando Sentinel