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Lightning Round: Happy Birthday Andrei Vasilevskiy

The Big Cat turned 28 today

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Just over a decade ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning took a chance on an 18-year-old goaltender with two years left on his contract with Ufa. Now, a decade later, that young kid is the best goaltender in the league. Vasilevskiy, turns 28 today and is in the prime of his career. He’s led the league (or tied for the lead) in wins over the last five seasons and has posted a 229-101-24 record in his 8-year career.

His 2.50 goals against average is 6th among active goaltenders and his .919 save percentage is second, just a touch behind Juuse Saros’ .920. There are a host of young goaltenders looking to knock him off of the throne, led by Igor Shesterkin, but for now Vasy is still the king.

He’s in the third season of his 8-year deal that averages $9.5 million and has been worth every penny. After all, the Lightning have been in the Stanley Cup Final in every season of his current deal. Can he keep this going for the rest of the contract? Possibly, aging curves in the past have indicated that netminders have peaked around Vasy’s current age, with a steady, but slow decline throughout their 30s. However, over the last decade or so we’re seeing a new breed of goaltender dedicated to conditioning that might extend that number out a little further.

So Happy Birthday, Vasy! Here’s to many more.

Some highlights from his age 27 season:

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning use Syracuse Crunch, player development staff to stay ahead of pack [Tampa Bay Times]

No one needs to tell that to [Stacy] Roest, who played almost 250 NHL games for the Red Wings and Wild after going undrafted. He and Lightning scouting director Al Murray collaborate on a simple, crucial mission to ensure the Lightning’s future succeeds in Syracuse.

“Draft and develop, right?” he said.

“And then they finally make it to Tampa and never come back.”

What’s Next: Tampa Bay Lightning [Yahoo Sports]

So the Lightning are still a threat, but if they want to win another championship, they’re going to need quite a bit to go right. They need [Mikhail] Sergachev and [Erik] Cernak to live up to those upcoming contracts and help fill the void left by [Ryan] McDonagh. They need to stay fairly healthy because the margin for error has been lowered now that [Ondrej] Palat is gone.

NHL takes big stride on women in hockey ops executive roles [Tampa Bay Times]

“The pendulum is really swinging to sort of add diversity,” said [Cammi] Granato, a Hockey Hall of Fame player who was named Canucks assistant GM in February. “There’s naysayers that say, ‘Oh you’re just trying to catch up and you’re just adding people to add them,’ but they (the hires) are qualified people. But I’m not surprised. I’m excited about it. It’s very good that the NHL is taking that sort of mindset and look toward that to open the pool.”

Kraken re-sign Morgan Geekie, sign Michal Kempny [Davy Jones Locker Room]

Geekie tallied 7 goals and 15 assists in his first season with the club and averaged a little over 12 minutes of ice time per game. He notched his first in the Kraken’s very first game in Vegas on October 12th, tying the game at 3 midway through the third period.

Matthew Tkachuk thrilled to join Florida Panthers [ESPN]

“I was kind of seeing how I envisioned my life going for the next eight-plus years,” Tkachuk said. “I’m here in Florida now, not for an eight-year contract, hopefully for a lot longer than that. I plan on playing, hopefully 15, however many years, and this is where I want to be.