The Tampa Bay Lightning has figured out the answers to many questions in their goaltending situation over the past year. That is largely because of the play of Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop who was 37-14-7 with a .924 save percentage and a 2.23 goals against average. However, he is the only goaltender in the Lightning organization that doesn’t have questions surrounding him heading into next season.
Last year’s backup Anders Lindback remains unsigned. In twenty-three games last season he posted an 8-12-2 record with a .891 save percentage and a 2.90 goals against average.
His play last season was tough to gauge because he was put in some very tough situations and he saw a limited amount of action for a developing goaltender. General Manager Steve Yzerman says that Lindback is “Still in the mix.” for next season.
Waiting in the wings are goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskii and Kristers Gudlevskis. Kristers Gudlevskis made his NHL debut late in the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets and had a 36 save gem in a win for the Lightning. He also replaced Anders Lindback in game four of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Andrei Vasilevskii has yet to make his North American debut let alone his NHL debut. He is considered by many to be the goaltender of the future. He is only twenty years of age and he will most likely need some time to transition to the North American style of hockey.
Even deeper in the organization is goaltender Adam Wilcox who plays for the University of Minnesota. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award which is given to the top NCAA player of the year.
With free agency beginning in less than 10 days the Lightning have some questions to answer. Will Anders Lindback be re-signed to be Ben Bishop’s backup next year? Will the Lightning give the job to one of their young developing goaltenders such as Kristers Gudlevskis or Andrei Vasilevskii?
Will the Bolts go after a veteran to be the backup for this coming season? Only time will tell. It will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out.