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Top Insider Links A Leafs Goaltender To A Division Rival


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Graham Montgomery
September 28, 2023  (7:14 PM)
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The Lightning announced earlier today that their star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has just had a surgery that will keep him out for the first couple of months of the upcoming season. Kevin Weeks was first to report the news.

Cap-Strapped Lightning Need A Goalie

This puts the Lightning in a very tough situation. Even with Vasilevskiy going on LTIR the team is up against the cap and with very little goalie depth behind him they are going to be forced to do something desperate.
Currently Jonas Johansson stands to be the number one goalie but he has yet to even prove himself as a capable backup, having a career save percentage of just .886 in 35 career games. He played just three games in the NHL last season in spot duty for the Avalanche.
There are a couple of verteran goalies who remain unsigned and could be options to fill in for Tampa. Jaroslav Halak, who played 25 games for the Rangers last year has shown he can still be a good enough NHL backup, but it is unclear if the 38-year-old could play even as often as every other night over the course of two months. There's also Brian Elliot who served as Tampa's backup last year although the 37-year-old put up rather poor numbers. Despite his desire to keep playing it is not certain if he could even provide replacement level goaltending anymore.

Tampa's Options In Goal Are Limited

With the free agent options being so limited, Pierre Lebrun suggests other options for the cap-strapped Lightning.
"The other avenue for the Lightning is to simply wait until other teams have to put their No. 3 goalies on waivers for the purpose of AHL assignment. There are a number of veteran netminders who potentially could be in that mix unless their teams keep three goalies on the active roster to start the season. Let's see what happens with the likes of Martin Jones in Toronto or Magnus Hellberg in Pittsburgh or Anthony Stolarz in Florida."

Perhaps the team will try to solve the problem internally, giving 22-year-old Hugo Alnefelt a shot at an NHL job early into his career. Alnefelt played 33 games in the AHL last year where he put up a .904 save percentage and a 17-12-2 record.
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Pierre Lebrun
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Top Insider Links A Leafs Goaltender To A Division Rival

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