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Report: Lightning’s ’12 first-rounder Vasilevski to leave KHL

May 1, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

Andrei Vasilevski AP

It looks like the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization might feature one of the top goaltending prospects next season. Andrei Vasilevski, 19, has decided to leave the KHL’s Ufa Salavat Yulayev, freeing him up to make his North American debut next season, according to Sports.ru’s Igor Eronko.

Vasilevski had a 2.24 GAA and .928 save percentage in 14 KHL contests last season. He also led Russia to a bronze medal in the 2014 World Junior Championship by posting a 1.83 GAA and .933 save percentage in six games.

He was taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Ben Bishop is obviously a lock for the starting job in Tampa Bay after his breakout campaign that earned him a Vezina Trophy nomination, but the Lightning might part ways with Anders Lindback following his disappointing campaign.

If that happens, then Vasilevski might challenge 21-year-old Kristers Gudlevskis for the backup job with the loser of that training camp battle serving as the number one goalie in the minors.

  1. matt14gg - May 1, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Lindback played himself out of a job. Vasilevski is a great goalie. He will at least be the backup and will probably challenge to start at some point.

  2. cobra9205 - May 1, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Lindback sucks!

    • pfhockey - May 1, 2014 at 8:29 PM

      When you have goalies like these three with superstar potential, of course it’ll dwarf a goalie like Lindback. However, I wish Lindback the best of luck and I’m sure he’ll be in the NHL next season. I think he hasn’t reached his peak yet, he needs to find that coach for him. Anyways, I’m excited to what the Bolts can do with such potential in goaltending.

  3. b5219cf - May 1, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    They also have Adam Wilcox in their system. This past seasons NCAA Big10 player of the year.

  4. stcrowe - May 1, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    If it is an open competition for backing up Bishop, Gudlevskis really should be the front-runner. Not just for the one game in Sochi, but for the way be played in relief against Montreal.

    • pfhockey - May 1, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      We’ll just see how it goes, I mean, he didn’t stand on his head much if any in the minors and with some mediocre stats. He’s got great upside but needs to find consistency. I’d say Vasilevski may be more experienced at this point playing in some high pressure for an extended time in the KHL. IMO I think Vasilevski’s style is a blend of Varlamov’s quickness/agility and Miller’s technical style. Anyways we just need another top 4 defenseman or 2 to help Heddy and Carle. Salo won’t likely come back and Gudas will likely be a top 6 d-man. We need to address our defensive depth once again. Hopefully Koekkoek pans out to be a top 4 d-man soon. I think we can move Connolly now for a solid d-man.

      • dirtyharry1971mom - May 2, 2014 at 9:56 AM

        I would look at Shattenkirk, if NYR gets to ECF, we’ll have 4 1st round picks (2 this year, 2 next year). I would consider trading one of our Rookies (not named Kucherov or Palat) for Shattenkirk.

        I think we could part with Tyler Johnson for the right top 4 Dmen, as Vlad Namestnikov is probably ready for the next step. I really like Johnson, but he’s #3 on the depth chart, I think we might be able to move him (ala Bishop-Conacher trade).

        I would hate to lose TJ, but getting a very good top2 defensemen would soften the blow. Steve Yzerman has never been shy about trading a fan favorite for a position of need. I can’t wait for the draft, promises to be a very entertaining day.

        PS I want us to draft Roland McKeown.

      • pfhockey - May 2, 2014 at 6:20 PM

        True, I think for sure Roland would still be available even though pre draft rankings at the beginning had him ranked at top 10. I think it’d be easier to trade Connolly if he doesn’t produce well in the NHL. Having Fil around for a while makes me feel like we may trade Johnson even though I think he’ll be a solid player like this season. Namestnikov is better at the age but we’ll see how it goes. I think we could throw in Wilcox in a trade to boost a package deal to get a solid d man.

  5. vbcaps - May 1, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Good for Tampa. Wish the caps had Stevie Y calling shots as GM

  6. dirtyharry1971mom - May 2, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Don’t get overly excited, I really think Anders Lindback’s biggest flaw is the fact that he never played a full season in the AHL, I think it really screwed with his development. The way Steve Yzerman and co. have been patient with their rookies, I expect both Gudlevskis/Vasilevski to split time in the AHL. Lindback if it was my decision I’d part with him. As for Ben Bishop’s back up, I’d go with a veteran backup, Nabokov, Gustavsson, Montoya ect. providing they’d take 1 year deals. at around $2-3M. I don’t think signing anyone for more than 1 year is very smart. Vasi or Gudi both might be ready by the half way mark next season.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lindback signed for 700k as well, once the youngsters are ready they can either trade him or send him to AHL.

    I would seriously consider trading Gudlevskis + one of the Rookies in a deal for a top 2 Dmen. I’ve heard rumblings Shattenkirk getting traded. SY should do everything in his power to land him and maybe another 5-6 pairing Dmen. I really don’t want to go into next season relying on guys like Brewer and Carle.

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