Haas: Bishop’s Backup Search Begins

by Jason Haas | Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Who will backup Big Ben?

The Tampa Bay Lightning is looking for a new backup goaltender after choosing not to qualify Anders Lindback. He could return, but certainly didn’t deserve the $2.2 million salary he earned last season.

Many are not fond of Kristers Gudlevskis or Andrei Vasilevskiy sitting behind Ben Bishop, their presence gives the Lightning a lot of flexibility to go the cheap route with their new backup. If said player flounders, you have two goalies in the AHL who certainly look capable of handling NHL competition in a limited/spot start role.

Here’a look at some different levels of thrift that may be available:

Top of the Heap:  Al Montoya, Justin Peters, Thomas Greiss. These players will probably command more than $1 million per year.

These three netminders had solid seasons, each playing a minimum of 20 games at the NHL level. Montoya will likely stay in Winnipeg with Ondrej Pavelec teetering on the edge of losing his job. Greiss could stay in Phoenix, but Peters will definitely leave the Carolina organization. There’s simply no room for him with Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin on the roster.

Second Tier: Curtis McElhinney, Cristopher Nilstorp. There’s a pretty good chance to get one of these guys for less than $1 million per year.

McElhinney is the quintessential ‘tweener goalie. Nothing spectacular at the NHL level but reliable in the AHL. He filled in admirably last season in Columbus when Sergei Bobrovsky was injured. Nilstorp is an intriguing option. Not very good in his limited NHL starts, but just led the Texas Stars to a Calder Cup championship

Longshots: Scott Clemmensen, Joey MacDonald, Ilya Bryzgalov, Tim Thomas, Evgeni Nabokov. Who knows on price, but buyer beware.

As older players, any one of the above may be willing to take a super cheap contract to prove they’ve still got it. MacDonald isn’t on the level of the others, but he’s familiar with GM Steve Yzerman from his time in Detroit’s system.

With the draft less than a week away, it will be interesting to watch things unfold. As for a Lindback prediction? He ends up overseas.

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Jason Haas
About the Author

Senior Writer Jason Haas is a native Michigander who came to Tampa after graduating college with an Advertising and Marketing degree. It seems as if fate intervened since he has shared his hockey fandom with the Lightning since 2002.

Displaying 5 Comments
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  1. Traci says:

    I’m down for Greiss Greiss Baby.

  2. Jason Haas Jason Haas says:

    Bringing the German to town.

  3. ITMAN says:

    I still think they bring back Lindy at a lower price.

  4. Jason Haas Jason Haas says:

    It’s possible, but I wouldn’t give him any more than $1.5 million. Is he willing to take a 30% pay cut when the writing’s on the wall, as far as TB goalie depth? He could just go overseas, be a starter and sail into the Helenius sunset.

  5. BigKahuna BigKahuna says:

    I agree. Lindy will be back,

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