In the late spring of 2014, the Lightning inked one of their 2012 draft picks - late 1st round selection Andrei Vasilevskiy - to his entry level contract. There had been much hype about his ability and what he was doing in the Kontinental Hockey League in the Russian Federation. A promising young Russian netminder with an organization devoted to development of young talent... No pressure, no rush, just play and learn, Andrei. We'll get the spelling of your last name right eventually.
In the summer of 2014, after the maelstrom of NHL free agency had calmed, we learned that newly-signed goalie Evgeni Nabokov had joined the Lightning with the understanding he could be pushed to the press box at any given time by way of the goalie nicknamed Vasya or Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis. Gudlevskis should certainly not be dismissed after efforts he's put out in both North American and International play in the past calendar year.
Circumstances have changed somewhat. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been recalled from the Syracuse Crunch this morning; a no-pressure recall is sort of in the trashcan in the wake of Ben Bishop's injury sustained in the 1st period last night in Pittsburgh. Instead of pushing Nabby out for a look-see, Vasya is now working in tandem with Nabby. The kid will see playing time this week as tonight is the flip-side of a back-to-back series and the week concludes with another back-to-back series.
Vasilevskiy was named AHL Player of the Week yesterday for his efforts (three wins, 2 shutouts, 1 goal allowed, and a partridge in a pair tree). The following stats and other information is from the Lightning press release on the recall:
Vasilevskiy, 20, has appeared in 14 games with the Crunch this season, posting a record of 8-3-3 to go along with a 2.34 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week on December 15 after posting a record of 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average and .982 save percentage last week. The Tyumen, Russia native posted shutouts in back-to-back starts on December 6 vs. Rochester and December 10 at Springfield. Vasilevskiy has only allowed two goals over his past four starts and has won seven of his past eight games.
Bolt Prospects also has a feature write-up trying to bring you up to speed on what to expect from Andrei Vasilevskiy.