No matter what the Tampa Bay Lightning would be going out on a limb: risk giving up lots of assets to acquire Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks or spend less to get an unproven goalie. They went with the latter.
Tampa GM Steve Yzerman traded for Anders Lindback Friday, acquiring the 24-year-old from Sweden from the Nashville Predators along with AHL center Kyle Wilson. Going the other way are two 2012 second-round picks, one third-rounder and minor-league journeyman goalie Sebastien Caron.
Lindback was the back-up to Pekke Rinne and wasn't about to be a number one goalie there, not with Rinne playing so well and signed to a long-term deal. Last month Yzerman all but said it would be a Lindback-like choice he'd make. "My preference," he said, "is to go with a little bit of a younger guy that maybe has a little less experience and can step up and play well for us now."
Tampa Bay Lightning: most goals allowed in 2011-12
In taking a relatively untested goalie - just 38 NHL games over two seasons - Tampa runs the risk of having another experience like 2011-12, where a team full of weapons up front with a solid defence couldn't get it done. Veteran goalies Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon played poorly and as a result Tampa, who allowed the most goals in the NHL, missed the postseason.
The opportunity to play and grow with stars like Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, as well as veterans like Vinnie Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, isn't lost on Lindback. “It’s going to be great playing on such an offensive team.” he told media. “Obviously, having Steven Stamkos, Vinny and Marty on your team is exciting for anyone. It’s the kind of team I want to be a part of.”
For his part Yzerman, who may be staking his job on his new goalie, says he's confident that the 6'6' goalie is ready to go. “He’s relatively inexperienced," Yzerman said. "But we think he has tremendous potential."
With Tampa out of the running for Luongo - if it's Luongo the Canucks intend to trade - arguably the team most likely to land him now is the Toronto Maple Leafs.