2009-10: Kristers Gudlevskis made his pro hockey debut as a 17-year-old in his native Latvia —appearing in nine games for HK Ogre — and played for the Ozolnieki/Juniors in the Belarus second league. Gudlevskis was 1-4 with a 5.13 goals against and .856 save percentage in five games for Latvia at the 2010 U18 World Junior Championship. He stopped 33 of 37 shots in Latvia’s only win, a shootout victory over Belarus in the relegation round. Gudlevskis was selected by Dinamo Riga in the seventh round (147th overall) of the 2010 KHL Draft.
2010-11: Gudlevskis appeared in 49 games for HK Riga in Russia’s U22 Minor Hockey League league and represented Latvia in the 2011 U20 Division 1A World Junior Championship. Gudlevskis was 26-16-2 with 7 shutouts and had a 2.20 goals against and .920 save percentage for HC Riga. In three playoff games he was 0-3 with one loss coming in overtime and had a 4.16 goals against and .862 save percentage. Gudlevskis was 1-0 for Latvia at the D1A WJC as a backup to Janis Kalnins – stopping 16 of 17 shots in his only game. Latvia finished first in the tournament to gain elevation to the main pool for 2012.
2011-12: Gudlevskis returned to HK Riga for his second season and again represented Latvia at the U20 level; handling the bulk of the goaltending in the 2012 World Junior Championship. He was 16-16-5 for HK Riga, appearing in 40 games, and had 1 shutout with a 2.39 goals against and .918 save percentage. In four playoff games he was 1-3 with a 3.50 goals against and .896 save percentage. Gudlevskis was 1-4 with a 5.15 goals against and .865 save percentage in five games at the WJC, stopping 22 of 23 shots in Latvia’s 2-1 overtime win over Denmark to avoid relegation.
2012-13: Gudlevskis made his KHL debut, appearing in two games for Dinamo Riga, and played for Latvia in the 2013 IIHF World Championship after appearing in 59 MHL games for HK Riga. He was 1-1, stopping 35 of 38 shots in his brief time with Dinamo, finishing with a 2.18 goals against and .921 save percentage. Sharing the goaltending for Latvia with veteran Edgars Masalskis at the WC, he was 2-2 with a 2.22 goals against and .925 save percentage. Gudlevskis was 27-18-11 with 3 shutouts in 56 regular season games for HK Riga and had a 2.09 goals against and .927 save percentage. In three playoff games he was 0-3 and had a 7.42 goals against and .747 save percentage. Not among the ten Europe goalies in Central Scouting’s final rankings, Gudlevskis was drafted as a 20-year-old by Tampa Bay in the fifth round (124th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
2013-14: Gudlevskis signed a three-year entry-level contract with Tampa Bay in August 2013 — skating at three different levels of pro hockey in his first season in North America. He played for Latvia in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and at the World Championship tournament in Belarus. He made his NHL debut in an April 11th game against Columbus, stopping 36 of 38 shots in a 3-2 win over Columbus in his only regular season start. Gudlevskis appeared in two playoff games in the Lightning’s series with Montreal and was 0-1, stopping 18 of 20 shots in 40 minutes of action. He appeared in 34 games with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch — sharing the goaltending duties with minor league veteran Cedrick Desjardins. He was 18-11-4 with five shutouts and had a 2.68 goals against and .901 save percentage. The Crunch finished fifth in the East Division, missing the AHL playoffs. Gudlevskis played 11 games with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades and was 7-4 with two shutouts, posting a 1.83 goals against and .925 save percentage. He was 0-2 with a 3.54 goals against and .919 save percentage in two games for Latvia at the Olympics and was 1-3 with a 3.79 goals against and .891 save percentage in four games at the World Championship.
2014-15: Gudlevskis appeared in 46 of 76 games for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch in his second pro season in North America — forming a solid goaltending tandem with first-year AHL goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Gudlevskis was 25-14-0 with two shutouts and had a 2.81 goals against and .900 save percentage. The Crunch moved to the Northeast Division in the re-aligned AHL, finishing second behind Hartford, and were swept by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a best-of-five first round playoff series. Gudlevskis was 0-3 with a 4.96 goals against and .833 save percentage in the series.
Gudlevskis continues to refine the technical and tactical aspects of his game but is a large, lanky goalie who fills the net well and uses his size to advantage. He is an athletic goaltender who can sometimes use his physical tools to compensate for mistakes. He needs more consistency as he faces higher quality scorers capable of exploiting any lapses. He is a well-conditioned athlete and has the stamina to handle a big workload though he appeared fatigued at the end of the long season.
Gudlevskis had a solid second season in North America in 2014-15, proving capable of playing for large stretches in the AHL with Tampa Bay affiliate Syracuse. Twenty-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy remains the top goaltending prospect in the Lightning organization and appears to be the heir apparent to Ben Bishop for Tampa Bay. Gudlevski's progress to this point suggests he can be a starter at the NHL level one day as well.