The Tampa Bay Lightning may have found a solution to their goaltending dilemma.
Lindback, 24, has the size—6'6", 203 lbs.—and skill to become a quality starting goalie in the NHL, but struggled in fill-in duty this past season after a strong 2010-11 campaign.
The 2008 seventh-round pick posted a 5-8 record in 2011-12 along with a pedestrian .912 save percentage and 2.42 GAA; Lindback had previously recorded an 11-5-2 record and .915 save percentage the season before.
However, Tampa Bay is apparently confident in his abilities to step in as a full-time starter next fall. Per Yzerman via the team's press release:
"We are very pleased to announce this trade today. We believe Anders will join the team and give us a nice lift at the goaltending position as we prepare for the 2012-'13 season. He has the potential to develop into the number one goaltender we covet."
Lindback is a restricted free agent this summer, having finished off a two-year contract with an $875,000 cap hit. Given today's trade, conversely, a new deal between the 24-year-old and the Lightning seems imminent.
Once re-signed, Lindback could step in as the Bolts' opening day starter next October.
Ancient 42-year-old goalie Dwayne Roloson, after a weak performance in '11-'12, is set to be a free agent on July 1st, and inconsistent backup Mathieu Garon, with one year left on his contract, proved unimpressive as a starter last season.
It would hardly be a stretch to call Lindback the favorite to finish the offseason No. 1 on Tampa Bay's goaltending depth chart.
Yzerman had to hand over quite the bounty in exchange, though, to land the up-and-coming goalie.
The Predators will receive two second-round picks—Minnesota's No. 37 selection and Philadelphia's No. 50 selection, both originally held by Tampa Bay—as well as a third-round choice (Tampa Bay's No. 71 position) and journeyman goaltender Sebastien Caron in the trade.
Meanwhile, in addition to Lindback, borderline-NHL forward Kyle Wilson (age 27, 13 points in 39 career appearances) and Nashville's seventh-round pick (No. 202 overall) are also headed to Florida's Gulf Coast.
Caron, 31, hasn't made an NHL appearance since 2007 until playing three games for the Bolts in 2011-12, and shouldn't make much of an impact in the Music City.
The trio of draft picks, however, certainly will.
All three fall within the first 71 selections of the 2012 NHL Draft, a quality that could easily produce at least one or two full-time NHL regulars once the picks are made and the prospects' careers pan out.
The plethora of picks will also re-stock the Predators' supply, as the team had previously traded each of their own first-, second- and third-round picks to Buffalo, Montreal and Ottawa, respectively. The Preds now have five choices in Rounds 2-4 and nine in total.
Did Yzerman give up too much for Lindback or will the inexperienced goaltender become a star in Tampa Bay?
That could take a few years to answer.
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