Goalie graveyard? With Bishop hurt, Bolts recall Gudlevskis

The day after Ben Bishop left a loss to Toronto with an upper-body injury, the Lightning recalled goalie Kristers Gudlevskis on an emergency basis from AHL Syracuse.

Bishop, who has been injured twice in the past two weeks, made it through the first two periods against Toronto — allowing only one goal on 22 shots — before leaving during the second intermission. He was replaced by Cedrick Desjardins, who is only with Tampa Bay because of an ankle injury to back up goalie Anders Lindback.

As mentioned, it’s been a rough go for Bishop of late. He was forced to leave a game against Ottawa last week (the same one Lindback suffered his injury in) after colliding with teammate Nikita Kucherov and, prior to that, missed three games in mid-January with a sprained wrist.

Bishop is currently listed as day-to-day. The Bolts have just one game left until the Olympic break — Saturday versus Detroit — and it’s unclear at the moment if Bishop will be healthy enough to play… or if Tampa will head into the Olympics with a one-two goalie punch of Desjardins and Gudlevskis.

Speaking of the Olympics, Gudlevskis is the only one of the four Tampa Bay goalies on his way over to Sochi this weekend, as he’s part of the Latvian team that’ll kick off play on Wednesday against Switzerland.

In another move, Tampa recalled 2011 first-rounder Vlad Namestnikov from Syracuse, to replace injured forward Valtteri Filppula.

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.