The Tampa Bay Lightning have another player going to the All-Star game, this time as a replacement. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been named the replacement for Carey Price, who decided to not attend the game due to nagging injuries. That leaves the Montreal Canadiens without a representative unless Shea Weber wins the fan-voted “Last Man In” contest. Tampa Bay meanwhile will have three players there with Vasilevskiy joining Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, not to mention Jon Cooper as coach and Brayden Point who is also in the fan vote.
It’s easy to understand why Vasilevskiy would be chosen for the game, especially when fellow Atlantic Division goaltender Frederik Andersen is dealing with an injury of his own. The Tampa Bay netminder has been excellent again this season recording a .920 save percentage through 22 starts, a total broken up by injury. The Lightning have proven to be the league’s best team through the first half and that’s in no small part to the excellent goaltending they’ve received, though Vasilevskiy has allowed five goals in three of his last five games.
Still, there are few goaltenders in the history of the game as athletic as the 24-year old and he should put on an incredible show in the 3-on-3 All-Star format. After being named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season, Vasilevskiy is ready to really become one of the faces of goaltending in the NHL and make his mark among the best in the league. A Stanley Cup appearance would do just that, but the All-Star game will have to be first.