While everyone was playing matchmaker between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Roberto Luongo — a team desperate for an upgrade in goal, and a goalie who digs living in Florida — GM Steve Yzerman was talking about taking the position in a different direction.
"My preference," he told the Tampa Bay Times, "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."
On Friday, Yzerman made his big move. Well, at least in player height.
Goalie Anders Lindback, all 6-foot-7 of him, was acquired from the Nashville Predators in exchange for minor-league goalie Sebastian Caron, two second-round picks this year and a third-round pick in 2013; in addition, the Predators are also giving up forward Kyle Wilson and a seventh-round pick in exchange for the Tampa Bay picks. All of that from Kevin Allen of USA Today.
Lindback is a restricted free agent who made $875,000 last season. His strong debut season in 2010-11 with 22 games played preceded a 2011-12 season in which he really couldn't find a groove. As a result, starter Pekka Rinne played a career-high 73 games.
As far as this deal goes, Ryan Porth of Smashville 24/7 saw the writing on the wall last month:
The 24-year-old restricted free agent is a piece that Poile could look to trade away for a draft pick or two. As it stands, the Predators don't have a pick in the first two rounds of the 2012 draft, a position Poile doesn't like to be in. Two teams in the East, Tampa Bay and Toronto, need goaltending. Both would be appealing trade partners because both teams pick in the top-10 of every round.
It's a very good haul for GM David Poile, for a backup goalie that clearly was never going to usurp Rinne from the No. 1 spot given his long-term deal.
And after Semyon Varlamov and the Colorado Avalanche last season, it's the second time in two summers that a general manager paid a higher freight for a goaltender than he would have via an offer sheet. But Stevie Y's not an offer sheet kind of guy.
Does this move solidify the Tampa Bay goaltending? Is Lindback the long-term answer? Or is he going to be yet another goaltender developed by the Predators and then smartly discarded as the pipeline produces another one?