Skip to content

Yzerman: ‘We’ve got to sort out our goaltending’

May 9, 2014, 1:36 PM EDT

Steve Yzerman Getty Images

Next year promises to be an interesting one in goal for Tampa Bay.

The Lightning will go into 2014-15 with Vezina finalist Ben Bishop as the unquestioned No. 1 — assuming he sufficiently recovers from wrist surgery, of course — but with some questions about who’ll play behind Bishop, and with their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

“We’ve got to sort out our goaltending,” GM Steve Yzerman said this week, per the Tampa Tribune.

Right now, the mix includes backup Anders Lindback (a pending RFA), Latvian Olympic hero Kristers Gudlevskis (signed through 2016), ’12 first-rounder Andrei Vasilevskiy (who just inked his entry-level deal) and University of Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox (a Mike Richter Award nominee this year as the NCAA’s top netminder).

The only two under contract for next year are Gudlevskis and Vasilevskiy; Lindback might’ve played his way out of town with a sub-par effort against Montreal in the playoffs and Wilcox, who just wrapped his sophomore campaign with the Gophers, could return for his junior year.

Here’s more, from the Tribune:

The Lightning could use either Vasilevskiy or Gudlevskis as Bishop’s backup. Vasilevskiy certainly has been impressive playing against men in the KHL. And Yzerman said that despite the small sample size, Gudleveskis, 21, the first goalie to play in the ECHL, AHL, NHL and Olympics in the same season, showed enough to at least get into the conversation as a possible No. 2.

Don’t discount the possibility of Yzerman using one of his goaltending chips in trade. In fact, Gudlevskis might be trade bait if the team wants Vasilevskiy as Bishop’s backup and Wilcox under contract.

It’ll be interesting to see what Tampa does behind Bishop for the No. 2 gig. While the NHL’s tallest netminder enjoyed a breakthrough campaign this year, there are still some concerns moving forward: 1) Prior to this year, Bishop never played in more than 22 games in a single season; 2) His heavy workload this season seemed to wear him down physically as, in addition to the wrist problem, Bishop also suffered a dislocated elbow that ruled him out for the playoffs.

As such, Yzerman might consider bringing a more veteran presence in to stabilize things should Bishop not produce at a similar clip. The problem there, of course, is it would add another goalie to what’s already a crowded situation in Tampa Bay.

Latest Posts
  1. IIHF says getting NHL players to 2018 Olympics ‘will not be easy’

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Rene Fasel Rene Fasel

    There’s currently no deal in place for the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

  2. Sens’ Phillips (back) done for the season

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    OTTAWA, ON - DECEMBER 1: Chris Phillips #4 of the Ottawa Senators skates during an NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings at Canadian Tire Centre on December 1, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Getty Images

    He’s expected to have surgery today.

  3. Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight

    Apr 21, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

    Alex Ovechkin AP

    Ovechkin looks to bump the slump as the Caps try to avoid falling behind 3-1 in their series with the Islanders.

  4. Pens’ Rutherford to columnist: ‘You’re a (expletive) jerk’

    Apr 21, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

    Mike Johnston Press Conference Mike Johnston Press Conference

    The GM hasn’t taken kindly to recent criticism of his hockey club.

  5. Ducks’ Rakell makes franchise history with overtime winner

    Apr 21, 2015, 1:52 AM EDT

    Getty Images

    The Jets, and Winnipeg, feel the crush of defeat.

  6. Video: Wild chase the Blues away to take series lead

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:54 PM EDT

    St Louis Blues v Minnesota Wild - Game Three Getty Images

    Devan Dubnyk produces his first playoff shutout.

  7. Suspension-worthy? Perry hit by Byfuglien after scoring a goal

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:37 PM EDT

    byfuglienfrombehind

    It drew a two-minute roughing penalty.

  8. Video: Rakell, Scheifele collide knee-on-knee

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT

    No call on the first collision.

  9. WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:48 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Two Getty Images

    Will shifting locales produce interesting results?

  10. Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    Sidney Crosby, Keith Yandle AP

    A close-to-perfect road effort from New York.

  11. Devils’ Henrique undergoes wrist surgery, expects 4-6 week recovery

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    New Jersey’s only player who went under the knife this offseason.

Featured video

Sens need to control emotions after Subban slash
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. K. Letang (2997)
  2. M. Pacioretty (2873)
  3. M. Stone (2727)
  4. M. Fisher (2699)
  5. J. Abdelkader (2590)
  1. Z. Kassian (2539)
  2. M. Perreault (2193)
  3. S. Crosby (2142)
  4. C. Ehrhoff (2011)
  5. R. Nash (1945)