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Bolts want to sign ’12 first-rounder Vasilevskiy, but KHL deal lingers

Apr 28, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT

2012 World Junior Hockey Championships - Semifinal - Canada v Russia Getty Images

Interesting note here from the Tampa Bay Times about the future of Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy:

[Tampa Bay GM Steve] Yzerman wants to sign 2013’s [sic: 2012] 19th overall draft pick as soon as his contract with the KHL’s Ufa runs out Wednesday.

But Ufa apparently is dangling a deal that would lock up the goalie, one of Tampa Bay’s prized prospects, for another year.

Vasilevskiy, 19, is considered to be one of the better young goaltending prospects on the planet. He went 14-8-5 with a .923 save percentage and 2.21 GAA in the KHL this season, and appeared in 14 Gagarin Cup playoff games before getting bounced in the Eastern Conference finals by Metallurg.

Assuming Anders Lindback has played his last game in Tampa — and given how badly things went for the pending RFA in the playoffs, that is likely — it’s possible the Bolts could bump Kristers Gudlevskis up to become Ben Bishop‘s full-time backup, and give Vasilevskiy the No. 1 gig in AHL Syracuse as a result.

Whether or not that’s enough to lure him away from Russia remains to be seen.

  1. lilroot9 - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    NBC Prohockeytalk, please note he was drafted in 2012. Thank you.

    • lilroot9 - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      And Tampa Bay Times, for that matter.

    • sjsharks86 - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      Yeah guys, Jonathan Drouin was their ’13 first rounder

      • Mike Halford - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        Apologies. Was going off the info provided by the Times (as evident in the italicized text), should’ve re-checked draft year. Fixes have been made.

  2. lowenni - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Bolts have a very promising future netminding tandem in Bishop and Vasilevskiy. I expect a year or two from now Vasilevskiy could easily be competing for a starting job–and he has the potential to be a top-5 goalie in this league in my opinion. Where does that put Bishop, or, conversely, Vasilevskiy two years from now? Either way, a good problem for the Bolts to have. I think Lindback has potential, but is much more of an athletic than smart goalie. He often seems out of position or letting in soft goals, but is A) huge and B) athletic. Perhaps with mentoring like Varlamov had, in time, he could turn that athleticism into great goaltending. Future is very bright for the Bolts.

  3. pfhockey - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Hell no. Get your hands off KHL, you’ll always be behind the NHL in terms of quality. I want this kid to shine. He’ll be starting goalie for sure in a few years maybe.

    • Matteo Ranndini - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      We’ll never really know unless there is some official competition between NHL and KHL clubs. Until then it’s just naked speculation and opinion based on familiarity & bias. I’ve actually watched some of this year’s KHL playoffs and the quality is very high. Vasilevskiy played great for Salavat Yulayev Ufa vs. Magnitogorsk, but they were just a bit too strong. Their line of Mozyakin – Kovar – Zaripov would give a lot of headaches to any NHL defense.

      • pfhockey - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        I find the KHL in between the AHL and NHL in terms of quality performance. You’d never see guys like Brandon Bochenski score the way he does in the KHL in the NHL. Malkin absolutely lit up the KHL and so does Radulov. I think it’s apparent that the NHL is clearly better but the KHL is still high and closer to the NHL than the AHL. Not to mention the general defense in the KHL is the most glaring disparity between the two leagues. Harder to score in the NHL and it’s faster since the rinks are smaller so it requires slightly quicker thinking.

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