Goalie Kevin Poulin 'relieved' to land with the Lightning
While goaltender Kevin Poulin was in limbo over the weekend, having been put on waivers by the Islanders, he tried not to stress about it.
"Didn't even think about it," Poulin said. "It was out of my control. I was just waiting for the phone to call, but not looking at it for 24 hours. And when it finally rang at noon (Sunday), I was relieved."
That's because Poulin, 25, was claimed by the Lightning, and will get an opportunity to compete for the backup role behind starter Ben Bishop while Andrei Vasilevskiy is out. Poulin joined Tampa Bay in practice Monday, and is on the trip for Tuesday's game in Johnstown, only having three games to make a quick impression.
"They liked that I have NHL experience," Poulin said. "Over the years, I've played (50 games), but I'll just come here and battle for a spot and give the team a chance to win everytime I go out and play."
Poulin does have more NHL experience than Kristers Gudlevskis (three games), his main competition for the backup role. Poulin has also played in 146 games in the AHL for Bridgeport, where Lightning coach Jon Cooper first noticed him.
"He's a good, young goaltender," Cooper said. "Anytime you can add a player of his talent, with our depth, it was a no-brainer for us."
Poulin has been with the Islanders since becoming their fifth round pick in 2008, so switching teams is an adjustment. But Poulin garnered confidence from his NHL experience (18-25, 3.07 goals against average), not worried how many exhibitions he gets into before camp ends.
"I think they know what I'm capable of," Poulin said. "That's why they picked me up off waivers. I just want to go out and have fun, play, I know how to play my game and show them that I'm ready."
Cooper said Poulin's arrival adds a "new wrinkle" into how he splits up the goaltending duties in the final three exhibitions. Cooper said Bishop will likely play in the preseason finale Saturday in Sunrise, maybe Thursday, so it's possible Poulin plays Tuesday in Johnstown.
"We just have to see how this plays out," Cooper said. "I don't think you can sit there and say who is going to be the backup here, or who is going to be the third guy. You have to sit and look at it big picture, we've got one goaltender injured, another one coming off injury. We're one more injury away from having nobody back there. There's nothing wrong with having depth at the position."
Other notes from today's skate: C Cedric Paquette (lower body), whose x-rays were negative Sunday after blocking a shot Saturday, did not practice Monday. Cooper said Paquette will be out a couple days but should be okay... The lines for today were Drouin-Stamkos-Callahan/Triplets/Killorn-Filppula-Condra/Boyle-Namestnikov-Brown/Point-Angelidis-Marchessault. Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel won't play for Pittsburgh Tuesday, but Evgeni Malkin will.