Kristers Gudlevskis, Acquired By NY Islanders for Carter Verhaeghe, Shining at the World Championships

Germany v Latvia - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia
Germany v Latvia - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Czechia / PressFocus/MB Media/GettyImages

Though he never suited up for the NY Islanders, the trade that brought Kristers Gudlevskis to the NY Islanders seemed like a minor transaction at the time but turned into one the organization will regret.

On July 1, 2017, Islanders GM Garth Snow traded Carter Verhaeghe to the Tampa Bay Lightning for goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis. At the time, Gudlevskis has made three appearances for the Lightning over four seasons, spending most of his time with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.

At the time, the acquisition was to add depth between the pipes within the organization, with Gudlevskis joining Eamon McAdam in Bridgeport.

Gudlevskis spent just one season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, before heading back to Europe where he's bounced between leagues. He spent last season with the Fischtown Penguins of the German DEL, finishing the season as one of the league's top goaltenders, posting a .914 SV% and 2.09 GAA.

While Verhaeghe put together a 34-goal, 72-point season and is preparing for the Eastern Conference Finals agaisnt the NY Rangers, Gudlevskis joined the Latvian team at this season's World Championships, entering the tournament as the backup netminder behind Elvis Merzlikins of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Merzlinkins got Lativia off to a hot start, defeating Poland and France in overtime. Gudlevskis was put between the pipes against Kazakhstan, earning a shutout while making 22 saves. Latvia elected to stick with the hot goalie, but Gudlevskis was lit up by Germany the following day, allowing 4 goals on 10 shots.

After going back to Merzlikins in a loss to Sweden, Gudlevskis saw himself between the pipes again against Slovakia. The former member of the Islanders organization was outstanding in the Lavian victory, stopping 41 shots in a 3-2 shootout effort, including one of the saves of the tournament.

Latvia currently sits in 5th place with 12 points in Group B, with the top four teams advancing to the quarter-finals. The Latvians play their final game on Tuesday against Brock Nelson and the USA, with an outside chance at advancing to the quarter-finals.