When it rains, it pours.
Already dealing with the absence of expected backup netminder Andrei Vaslievskiy for 2-3 months following surgery to remove a blood cot near his left collarbone, the Lightning certainly can't be pleased to see "next man up" Kristers Gudlevskis go down in pain following a flurry of saves during a Florida Panthers power play during the final game of the Prospect Tournament in Estero.
There had already been some concern over Gudlevskis' readiness for full time NHL duty following a mediocre year backstopping the Syracuse Crunch in 2014-15 after Vasilevskiy was called up to replace the ineffective Evgeni Nabokov for the Lightning. Enter another veteran in Ray Emery, who signed a PTO a week ago and will attend camp with the Lightning.
At the time, the guess was Emery was there so the team could A) get a better look at him and B) to, at the very least, push Gudlevskis to really win the job behind incumbent starter Ben Bishop.
A potential injury to Gudlevskis throws that plan in the garbage and potentially leaves the Lightning scrambling (and might leave the Syracuse Crunch in an even worst spot) for a sort-of-temporary replacement for both of their young netminders. Emery would seem to be the favorite -- having already been targeted by Lightning management -- but there are other names out there on PTOs who the Lightning might lure with the offer of an SPC instead:
Re: GT... Something to keep in mind: While Emery is with TB, TB will likely be watching tryout players Gustavsson in BOS and Budaj in LA.— Bolt Prospects (@BoltProspects) September 15, 2015
We're in wait-and-see mode with Gudlevskis now. He was favoring his right arm following the netfront scrum that saw multiple Florida Panthers forwards digging around the crease for a loose puck. It's possible the injury is minor and they decided to remove him from the game as a precautionary or preventative measure, but we simply don't know any details yet.