Tampa Bay Lightning resolves its goaltending issue with acquisition of Anders Lindback
Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said his goaltending issues for the summer are resolved. The final piece was Friday's acquisition from Nashville of Anders Lindback of whom Yzerman said, "We think he has the makeup to become a starter in the NHL."
Tampa Bay acquired Lindback from the Predators along with minor leaguer Kyle Wilson and a 2012 seventh-round draft pick for goalie Sebastien Caron, two 2012 second-round picks and a 2013 third-rounder.
"He'll have to earn the job," Yzerman said of the No. 1 spot. "But we think he has the ability. We think he's ready to take on more responsibility."
Lindback, 24, the 207th overall pick by Nashville in 2008, played 16 games for the Predators last season, going 5-8-0 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. He has appeared in 38 NHL games, going 16-13-2 with a 2.53 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.
In other words, he is relatively untested. But his 6-foot-6 stature is a bonus, though he is just 203 pounds.
"I like his athleticism," Yzerman said. "He moves well in the net. He reacts well and I think he has good, solid technique and an all-around structure."
Yzerman said Lindback has been on his radar since October 2010, when Lindback made 42 saves on 45 shots in a 4-3 victory over the Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. He became an ever better option after the Canucks elevated Cory Schneider to the No. 1 spot during this season's playoffs. Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, and the 10 years left on his contract, were never an option.
Lindback, who is a pending restricted free agent, still has to be signed. But such a trade is not made without some assurance that will be done.
More immediately important is Yzerman believes his goaltending search for the summer is done. The way Yzerman sees it, Lindback and returning Mathieu Garon will make a solid combination next season, regardless of who emerges as the No. 1. Yzerman also added depth by signing Riku Helenius from the Finish elite league.
And while the Lightning paid a high price for Lindback, Yzerman was able to retain his two first-round draft picks (Nos. 10 and 19) and still has a second-round pick (No. 40) and also, as per a trade last season, could get pick No. 53 from the Panthers.
For the Lightning, gaining Lindback creates the chance to end a long stretch of uncertainty in goal. Consider that since Nikolai Khabibulin led the team to the 2004 Stanley Cup title, it has not had a true No. 1 except for five month in 2011 provided by Dwayne Roloson.
"We're pleased to do it," Yzerman said of acquiring Lindback. "It's one more thing off the check list."