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Lightning in no rush to deal its goaltending depth

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) spells goalie Ben Bishop (30) briefly in the third period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks in Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday, June 6, 2015.
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) spells goalie Ben Bishop (30) briefly in the third period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks in Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday, June 6, 2015.
Published Jun. 18, 2015

TAMPA — The Lightning is in an enviable position when it comes to goaltending.

It has a proven No. 1 in Ben Bishop, 28, a former Vezina Trophy finalist who was tremendous in his first postseason, racking up two Game 7 shutouts.

It also boasts a possible future No. 1 in Andrei Vasilevskiy, 20, who impressed in his first NHL season, including a start in the Stanley Cup final.

With that kind of depth, it would be natural for teams to contact the Lightning about a trade, especially with Bishop having two years left on his deal at a $5.95 million cap hit annually.

But GM Steve Yzerman said he would be "really comfortable" if both Bishop and Vasilevskiy were on the roster to start next season while admitting Vasilev­skiy will need to play more.

"At some point we'll have to make a decision, but not yet," Yzerman said. "Whether that's one year or two years from now, I don't know. But I know we've got Bish, who has proven to be one of the top starters in the league, and we've got a really talented young guy."

Yzerman noted there were questions about how Bishop would perform in his first postseason. "He showed everybody," he said.

"You know you can do it," Bishop said. "Now people are going to expect it. It'll probably be even more pressure."

Vasilevskiy said he expects to be better next season after adjusting to the league's speed. "When I was inside the game, you play it, you understand how it is," he said. "Now I understand more."

Yzerman said Vasilevskiy will play more next season, even if it means getting spot starts at AHL Syracuse. Asked if Bishop's trade value might not get any higher, Yzerman smiled.

"We've tried to solidify our goaltending for five years," he said. "Let's enjoy it for a year or two."

STICK WITH IT: Yzerman said there likely won't be a lot of roster changes, saying young players such as C Vladislav Namestnikov and LW Jonathan Drouin will get more opportunities. Yzerman said Drouin, who played in just six playoff games, is "absolutely a big part of the future. He's a tremendously talented young player, a great young man, all throughout the year he's handled this situation extremely well."

MEDICAL MATTERS: C Tyler Johnson doesn't know if his broken right wrist will require surgery. "I don't think it's that bad," he said. Johnson said he got hurt in Game 1 of the final when he landed on it after getting checked at mid-ice by Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook. But he said he was never close to missing a game. "You're in the Stanley Cup final, I think you're going to play as long as you're not in a wheelchair," he said.

ICE CHIPS: Veteran wing Brenden Morrow, 36, an unrestricted free agent, said he might "give it one more go" and would love to return to Tampa Bay. "Absolutely, 100 percent," he said. "I've had more fun here in this short time than I've had in I don't know how many years."

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Times staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report.

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