Predators backup netminder, Anders Lindback has been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The announcement was made at a press conference held late Friday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Kyle Wilson and Nashville’s 7th round draft pick were also sent to Tampa Bay. Coming back to Nashville are two 2nd round draft picks and a 2013 3rd round pick. The Predators also get goaltender Sebastien Caron.
Caron will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. General Manager David Poile says there are no plans for Caron in the Predators organization.
Lindback, a restricted free agent, has played only 38 games in the NHL, but wanted an opportunity to be a starting goaltender. With Pekka Rinne signed to a 7-year deal in Nashville, it was unlikely he would ever get that opportunity with the Predators.
“Sitting down with Anders and his agent at the end of the year, they love Nashville and he is very appreciative of the opportunity, but he needed to move on. He isn’t a backup goaltender. He is a number one goalie. We wish Anders a lot of luck,” Poile.
Nashville has two options moving forward. Poile can either sign a veteran netminder to back up Rinne or stay in house, allowing a prospect to make the jump to the NHL.
Poile favors adding a veteran backup, but may change his mind before the start of the upcoming season.
“I’m not going to sign someone for the sake of signing somebody. It has to be the right guy. We have a list of, arguably, 7 or 8 guys who we think fit that role. If you are asking me right now, I’m favoring using a veteran. That is a more logical road to go for us,” Poile explained.
Nashville’s second round draft pick from 2011, goaltender Magnus Hellberg, is expected to play in North America next season. Poile says a contract has not been finalized, but if everything works out, Hellberg is likely to start the season in Milwaukee.
Nashville’s other homegrown talent to potentially back up Rinne is Jeremy Smith, the Admirals starter for the 2011-12 season.
“Jeremy is getting closer all the time,” Poile said. “Each year, he is getting better as a goaltender. I think he has matured as a person and his ability to handle the goaltending task, if you will. I think he is on a really good track. That is going to weigh on our decision if we make a signing or we don’t make a signing.”
Lindback, drafted 207th overall in the 2008 entry draft, has a 2.53 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in 38 regular season contests between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.
Tampa Bay General Manager, Steve Yzerman, told USA Today’s Kevin Allen that Lindback doesn’t have a lot of experience but has “tremendous potential.”
“We gave up a significant amount to get him, but there weren’t a lot of options, so we paid a hefty price, but we thought the return was worth it. We feel he’s ready, and in talking to him, he is excited about the opportunity to take on more.”