Tampa Bay Lightning trade Kristers Gudlevskis to New York Islanders

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 24: Kristers Gudlevskis
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 24: Kristers Gudlevskis /

The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis to the New York Islanders in exchange for forward prospect Carter Verhaeghe.

The Tampa Bay Lightning wasted no time in getting down to business today as soon as the doors swung open on the 2017 NHL Free Agency Period. Judging by the looks of things, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman must have a flaming pen in his hand from all the contracts/deals he’s been signing.

One of the more interesting transactions of the day came just past the one o’clock hour this afternoon. Yzerman announced earlier today the Lightning has traded prospect goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis to the New York Islanders in exchange for prospect forward Carter Verhaeghe.

While neither of these two players has much experience in the National Hockey League, Gudlevskis does have a bit of an upper hand in this particular arena. Since being drafted in the 5th Round (124th Overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Gudlevskis has definitely made his mark on hockey fans.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

Many Tampa Bay Lightning fans will remember the spectacular performance the now-24-year-old netminder put on at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, when his native Latvia battled the almighty Team Canada in the Quarterfinal Round. Gudlevskis made an amazing 55 saves on a total of 57 shots.

This made for a Save Percentage of .964. Let’s be real, most NHL goaltenders don’t see that many shots on goal over the course of two games, let alone one; especially not against the super team known as Team Canada.

Unfortunately, Gudlevskis was never really given much of a chance to shine on the NHL stage. He served as a backup to various goaltenders at one point or another, but he never seemed to get the call to the ice.

In the three seasons Gudlevskis spent with the Lightning, he was able to play in a total of three games. This allowed him to attain a 1-0-1 record along with a Save Percentage of .959 and Goals Against Average of 1.37.

Last season, Gudlevskis played in a total of 37 games with the Syracuse Crunch. In this amount of time, Gudlevskis maintained a 15-10-4 record along with a Save Percentage of .897 and a Goals Allowed Average of 2.65.

As for the Lightning’s newest acquisition, Verhaeghe has quite a bit of experience in the AHL, but absolutely none in the NHL. Last season, the 21-year-old forward spent a majority of his time with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.

In the 45 games he’s played with the Tigers last season, he’s managed to bring home 16 goals and 13 assists for a total of 29 points. These numbers placed him tied for 3rd place on the team in goals and in 9th place on the team in overall points.

Given the number of talented forwards currently in the Tampa Bay Lightning system right now, it’s pretty safe to say it will be a few seasons before Carter Verhaeghe plays a game in the NHL. Well…unless the Lightning experience a severe case of déjà vu from last season, which is definitely something Lightning fans are hoping never comes to pass.

Next: Luke Witkowski Signs With Detroit Red Wings

Judging by the way things have played out today, Tampa Bay Lightning fans have a lot more movement to look forward to in the coming days. The landscape is definitely changing here in the Bolts Nation. On the bright side, Yzerman has a pretty solid track record of building a strong team, both now and in the future. For now, we trust in the Yzer-plan.