Ray Emery will attend Lightning camp on tryout contract

When it was revealed last week that Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy would be sidelined for a couple of months due to a blood clot issue it put the team in a tough spot.

With Vasilevskiy expected to not only be the backup to starter Ben Bishop, but perhaps also take on a bigger role with the team it put the Lightning in a position where it might have to look outside the organization for a reliable backup to get the team through the first few months of the season. Especially with a schedule that includes two back-to-back situations in the first 16 days of the season.

In an effort to help address that hole, the Lightning are bringing veteran goalie Ray Emery to training camp on a tryout contract.

Emery, who turns 33 later this month, spent the past two seasons as Steve Mason's backup with the Philadelphia Flyers. He appeared in 31 games during the 2014-15 season and recorded an .894 save percentage for the team, a mark that put him near the bottom of the NHL. He was one of just four goalies to appear in at least 20 games and finish with a save percentage lower than .900.

Emery has appeared in 287 games in his NHL career with the Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks and Flyers. 

He will likely be competing for the backup job along with prospect Kristers Gudlevskis, a 2013 fifth-round pick by the Lightning. Gudlevskis, 21, has appeared in just one regular season game (stopping 36 out of 38 shots) and two playoff games in his NHL career. He spent the 2014-15 season playing for the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League where he had a .900 save percentage in 40 appearances, so he is far from a lock to be ready to take on an NHL role this season. 

In the end, whoever wins the backup job should simply be a placeholder until Vasilevskiy is ready to return to the lineup.

Tampa Bay's first-round pick in 2012, Vasilevskiy appeared in 16 regular season games for the Lightning a season ago and ended up getting some playing time in the Stanley Cup Final, including the start in Game 4, due to an injury to Bishop.

Ray Emery has a training camp tryout with the Tampa Bay Lightning. (USATSI)
Ray Emery has a training camp tryout with the Tampa Bay Lightning. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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