After much discussion, Tampa Bay has finally agreed to terms on an entry-level deal with goalie Andrei Vasilevskii, the 19th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Vasilevskii, 19, was targeted for an NHL deal by Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman shortly after the Bolts were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, but reports suggested the Russian netminder could remain in the KHL rather than head to North America next season, where he’s likely to be playing with AHL Syracuse.
Vasilevskii is considered to be one of the better young goaltending prospects on the planet. He went 14-8-5 with a .923 save percentage and 2.21 GAA for KHL club Salavat Yulaev Ufa this season, and appeared in 14 Gagarin Cup playoff games before getting bounced in the Eastern Conference finals by Metallurg.
Assuming Anders Lindback has played his last game in Tampa — and given how badly things went for the pending RFA in the playoffs, that is likely — it’s possible the Bolts could bump Latvian Olympic hero Kristers Gudlevskis up to become Ben Bishop’s full-time backup, and give Vasilevskiy the No. 1 gig in Syracuse as a result.
(Please note that, according to the Lightning, Vasilevskii’s surname will be spelled with two i’s, rather than they previous “iy” ending.)