Two-Time Stanley Cup Champion Curtis McElhinney Retires

Curtis McElhinney
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Former Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney has retired from professional hockey. McElhinney won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Lightning in the past two seasons serving as Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s backup.

Curtis McElhinney Retires From the NHL

McElhinney had a long and successful career in the big leagues. In his last season with Tampa, he played 12 games, finishing with four wins, six losses, and two overtime losses. With a 3.09 goals against average and a .875 save percentage, he wasn’t the most effective goalie. However, the team in front of him was the best in the league, so his mistakes weren’t capitalized on as heavily. In his 13 year NHL career, he played for eight different teams, staying with the Columbus Blue Jackets the longest. He played 249 games, finishing with a 94-95-20 record. An overall save percentage of .907 and a GAA of 2.83 makes his career around the average mark for goaltenders.

Moving Forward For the Lightning

Obviously, Curtis McElhinney was not the most integral piece to their back-to-back rings. Vasilevskiy is still the starting goaltender and will be for a very long time. To replace McElhinney, the Lightning signed Brian Elliott to the squad. The veteran goaltender spent the last four seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and was putting up similar numbers to McElhinney. But it doesn’t really matter how effective their backup goaltender is, as they will be playing at most 15 games this season.

However, there is a nagging concern for Tampa. If Vasilevskiy is out for an extended period of time, the Lighting are in deep trouble. Every season, their backup goaltender is a low-tier NHL goalie who can barely hold his own. Tampa always plays better in front of Vasilevskiy (for obvious reasons), but having a 90-10 split for goalies is tough on the starting goalie. Look for signs of fatigue from Vasilevskiy as the season goes on.

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