The Tampa Bay Lightning will bring in a new veteran backup for Andrei Vasilevskiy, signing Brian Elliott according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. The one-year deal is worth $900K according to Andy Strickland of Bally Sports Midwest.
Elliott, 36, is coming off of a difficult season in Philadelphia in which he was asked to do more than expected behind a struggling Carter Hart and faltered, recording an .889 save percentage and 3.06 GAA. However, there is reason to believe that things will be much different for the veteran in Tampa. He will have a much more reduced role for the Bolts behind workhorse Andrei Vasilevskiy, arguably the best goaltender in the NHL right now. He will also be playing behind a stout Tampa defense that just won back-to-back Stanley Cups. With less responsibility and more protection, Elliott could return to form. A veteran of 502 NHL games over 14 years, Elliott has a career save percentage of .910 and GAA of 2.53.
The value of this deal works out nicely for the cap-strapped Lightning. Barring an injury to Vasilevskiy, the Lightning do not need to ask much of their backup, yet were paying Curtis McElhinney $1.3MM for numbers that were no better than Elliott’s. Filling his vacancy with a respected vet for under $1MM is a savvy move for the team, especially when backup goalies have had high price tags today.