With Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss all but locked into the NHL lineup, it’s not surprising that the Islanders waived goaltender Kevin Poulin to get him ice time with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American League.
But plans change quickly. The Tampa Bay Lightning have claimed Poulin off waivers, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
The Islanders hadn’t given up on Poulin, a 5th round pick in 2008. The goaltending depth in Brooklyn isn’t outstanding, but Halak is at the top of the food chain and it was likely the team’s best option to get the 25-year-old Poulin in Bridgeport to get as much ice time as possible.
However, the Lightning have some serious goaltending issues after Andrei Vasilevskiy was required to have surgery in early September, leaving him sidelined for 2-3 months.
The Lightning aren’t without their starting netminder, but for a back-up, the pickings are slim, as we’ve discussed here before.
That situation has been further complicated by Kristers Gudlevskis having a minor injury during the preseason. It wasn’t an earth-shattering issue, but it throws a spotlight on the depth issues for the team, particularly because the team want Gudlevskis and former University of Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox to be in the AHL getting minutes. Behind Bishop, there won’t be many minutes to be had for either of them at the NHL level.
So, the Lightning have claimed Poulin, who signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Islanders over the summer as a RFA. The claim brings extra insurance to the team now and potentially in the following season, with Poulin remaining a RFA when his contract is up on July 1.