Tampa Bay Goalie Vasilevskiy Will Miss Start Of Season Due To Blood Clot

Tampa Bay Goalie Vasilevskiy Will Miss Start Of Season Due To Blood Clot&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they get ready for the start of the NHL season–backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will miss up to three months following surgery to remove a blood clot near his collar bone. He was also treated for a type of vascular thoracic outlet syndrome.

Actually, it’s just short term bad news with plenty of long term upside. Blood clots can be dangerous–and fatal–if they move into the heart or brain. Everyone concerned is fortunate it was caught in time. More good news–according to Lightning GM Steve Yzerman the 21 year old Russian goalie will be back in the lineup quickly at the end of his recovery period: “It’s a little bit of a setback for the start of the year. On the positive side, we expect him ready to go when he’s cleared.”

Many expect Vasilevskiy to be Tampa Bay’s goaltender of the future. He looked decent in limited action last year posting a 7-5-1 record with a .918 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average. He saw action in four playoff games and fared reasonably well given his inexperience. At 6’3″ he’s a physically imposing presence in the model of Ben Bishop and Pekka Rinne but moves very well.

Tampa Bay’s concern now moves to finding a backup to starter Ben Bishop during Vasilevskiy’s absence. The most likely candidate is 23 year old Kristers Gudlevskis who spent last season with the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse. Gudlevskis has one game of NHL experience so his lack of play at the top level is clearly an issue. Another option is to hit the free agent wire–a couple of veterans are available including former Detroit Red Wings’ backup Jonas Gustavsson. Gustavsson was the odd man out in Detroit between the stellar play of Petr Mrazek–who at 23 appears to be the Wings’ goaltender of the immediate future–and the unmovable (for now) contract of Jimmy Howard. Howard is due $5 million plus per year for the next four seasons. There are no immediate plans to trade Howard but he’s not happy being a backup and the Wings aren’t happy paying $5 million per for a backup.

Related Posts