Irving picks KHL over Lightning camp invite

Leland Irving won’t be attending the Tampa Bay Lightning’s training camp after all. Although he was invited, Irving has instead opted to sign a one-year contract with the KHL’s Salavat Yulaev Ufa, per the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson.

Irving was selected by the Calgary Flames with the 26th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, but the 26-year-old goaltender has only played in 13 NHL games. However, he’s coming off of a strong season in Finland where he posted a 2.14 GAA and .922 save percentage in 55 games with Jokerit.

Although the Lightning were obviously interested in Irving, his decision to pass on their camp isn’t a serious blow to the organization. The Lightning’s NHL tandem is already set with Vezina nominee Ben Bishop being joined by 39-year-old goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Kristers Gudlevskis, who caught the hockey world’s attention with his performance for Latvia in the 2014 Winter Olympics, is projected to start the campaign in the AHL.

On top of all that, the Lightning also have a top-tier goaltending prospect in Andrei Vasilevskiy.

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