TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis (güd-LEV-skeez, KRISS-turs) to a three-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Gudlevskis was recently drafted in the fifth round, 124th overall, of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in Newark, New Jersey.
Gudlevskis, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, played in 56 games with HC Riga in Russia's top junior league, the MHL, last season, posting a 27-18 record with a .927 save percentage and a 2.09 goals-against average with three shutouts. He ranked fourth in the MHL for save percentage among goaltenders with more than seven games played and sixth for goals-against average. Gudlevskis' three shutouts were tied for 10th in the league. He also appeared in three playoff games. Gudlevskis also played in two games with the Riga Dinamo of the KHL last season, his debut in Europe's top league, posting a 1-1 record with a .921 save percentage and 2.18 goals-against average.
A native of Aizkraukle, Latvia, Gudlevskis has played in 145 career MHL games with HC Riga from 2010-13, registering a .922 save percentage and a 2.21 goals-against average to go along with a 69-50 record and 11 shutouts. During the 2010-11 season Gudlevskis ranked second in the MHL with seven shutouts. He has also played in 10 career MHL playoff games.
Gudlevskis, 20, has a history of representing his native Latvia in international competitions. Most recently he played in four games during the 2013 IIHF World Championships, played in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland. He posted a 2-2 record with a .925 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average in those games. Gudlevskis was named as one of the top three players on the Latvian team as selected by coaches in the tournament. He also played in the 2012 World Junior Championships and the 2011 Division I-A World Junior Championships. Gudlevskis is expected to be considered for a position on the Latvian team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.