Tampa Bay Lightning select goaltender Andrei Vasilevski with the 19th pick in 2012 NHL Draft

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Andrei Vasilevski (C), 19th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning, poses on stage with general manager Steve Yzerman (R) and team representatives during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the shock of the 10th overall pick still ringing in fans ears, and the unpredictability continuing in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Bolts went goalie - the need, the want -- with the 19th overall pick and selected Andrei Vasilevski.

We wondered in recent postsif the Lindback and Helenius acquisitions had changed the want/need of the Bolts 19th overall pick. We made a mock-choice of Derrick Pouliot at 19 (but, of course, the 2012 NHL draft took a decidedly non-mock turn in how it played out).

And while we had also speculated earlier in the month that, perhaps, Malcolm Subban would be preferred to Vasilevski with thanks to his blood lines and hockey pedigree... It would seem the Bolts scouting has ranked him ahead of Malcolm.

Like Koekkoek, Vasilevski is a project... And more-so because he is playing in the Russian KHL. That's not to sully the KHL as-so-much present it as a challenge to lure the talented young netminder over to North America full-time. Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray said after the selection that Vasilveski may be coming over to North America to play in Juniors next season - though that is not worked out yet.

Vasilevski stood out during the 2012 World Junior Championships this past winter for Team Russia, raising his stock on draft boards with his performance for Team Russia.

But what does this mean long term for the Lightning? Actually, not much. It puts a top-level goaltender in the pipeline. That remains behind Anders Lindback, behind Riku Helenius, behind Dustin Tokarski, Jaroslav Janus, Pat Nagel and of course far behind Mathieu Garon. Like I keyed in earlier, Vasilevski is a project as any player at his age is. Besides the geopolitical issues getting him inot the North American Game, he's got plenty of developing to do. Expecting him in net for the Lightning any time soon - and by soon we mean the next 2 or 3 years - is a reach.

Andrei Vasilevski Tribute (via lacrossechris1)


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