As many teams as there are in the NHL that have had goaltending issues over the years, few teams can claim that they’ve had the type of woes between the pipes that the Tampa Bay Lightning have had.
Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, the Bolts have dressed 19 different goaltenders, none of them managing to stick with the Lightning, let alone in the National Hockey League, with the real exception being Mike Smith, who left Tampa last summer and found great success with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Because of that, the Lightning had been popping up in relation to every goaltender that was reported to be available this summer, including Roberto Luongo. But Bobby Lu will have to build his new home some place else as the Lightning settle their situation with a deal with the Nashville Predators earlier this week.
The Bolts acquired Nashville backup Anders Lindback, who, aside from having one of the cooler names in hockey, backed up Pekka Rinne for the last few years with the Preds.
Tampa Bay sent Sebastian Caron and three draft picks to the Predators in exchange for forward Kyle Wilson, Lindback, and a seventh round pick.
Lindback’s NHL experience is limited, being young and playing behind a star like Rinne, but he has plenty of potential as the goalie of the future for the Lightning. He has a 2.53 GAA and .914 save percentage in 38 career appearances, but has showed flashes that have led to the belief that he can be a no. 1 goaltender in the NHL, which the Lightning are betting on.
The only issue for the Bolts now will be getting Lindback locked up to a new contract, which shouldn’t prove too difficult. A two or three-year contract should be pretty easy to hammer out for the restricted free agent.
When you look at it, this is really a great move for the Lightning, even with Lindback having such limited NHL experience. He’s a young goaltender that is worth taking a chance on, and they really didn’t give up much to get him. They sent an old, pretty much career minor league goaltender and they still have two first round picks and a second rounder in next week’s draft, even having sent two the Preds’ way. If this move pans out, it will be a brilliant one for Steve Yzerman.