The Tampa Bay Lightning announced on Thursday that goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy would be sent down to Syracuse and Kristers Gudlevskis would replace him on the NHL roster.
After struggling over his last few starts, the Tampa Bay Lightning have decided to send goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy down to the team’s NHL affiliate in Syracuse. The team has recalled Kristers Gudlevskis to be the backup to Ben Bishop while Vasilevskiy in Syracuse.
Vasilevskiy is 2-4 in seven games so far this season with a 2.76 GAA and .910 SV%. Over his last five games, Vasi was 0-4 with a 2.97 GAA and .874 SV% and the team continued to struggle when he was in the crease. Do all of these losses fall on the shoulders of Vasi? No at all. However, some of the goals Vasilevskiy allowed seemed to shake his confidence and affect his play.
Sending Vasilevskiy down to Syracuse will do nothing but make him better for the stretch run. After allowing three soft goals over his last few games, Vasilevskiy mentioned to the media that he seems to play better when he plays many games in a row. He has proved that throughout his that when he starts consecutive games in a row, he can get in a rhythm and be at his best.
Right now, Ben Bishop is tied for the league lead in goals against average at a stellar 1.95 mark and is playing some of the best hockey in his NHL career. Though the Lightning have not pplayed as well as they should have throughout the first quarter mark of the season, Bishop has been nothing but phenomenal. When you have a solid number one starter like the Lightning have, it is hard for a backup to get the amount of playing time needed in order to stay sharp.
For the Lightning, they may have one of the better backup goaltenders in the league, but there is something about having that veteran that has been there before and knows how to prepare that tends to be better in the backup role than a young player that is still developing. Though it is well know that Vasi is a hard worker in practice and in the weight room, the experience factor is what gets to the young goaltender when he is not able to string together a few starts.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will be able to shake the rust off when he plays a few games down in Syracuse and will be back with the Lightning very soon. This move will benefit both the Lightning and the young netminder in the long run, as the team will need Vasi to play well down the stretch if they want to make the playoffs.