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Lightning Sign Riku Helenius

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Riku Helenius to a two-year contract, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The first year of Helenius’ contract will be a two-way deal, while the second will be a one-way. 

Helenius, 24, played in 33 games for JYP of Finland’s SM-liiga, compiling a 1.64 goals against average and .936 save percentage. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound goaltender appeared in 13 playoff games this past season, posting a 1.73 goals against average and a .947 save percentage, helping lead JYP to the league championship. The Palkane, Finland native was also given the Urpo Ylonen Award as the top goaltender during the regular season. 

The Finnish netminder was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the first round, 15th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Helenius made his NHL debut with the Lightning on January 30, 2009 against the Philadelphia Flyers in a relief effort and stopped both shots he faced.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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Turnaround in Tampa Starts at the Top

Before a single tweak to the roster, the Tampa Bay Lightning were already poised for improvement in 2010-11. With the tumultuous era of previous ownership already behind them when the sale of the team to Jeff Vinik was completed late last season, gone in an instant were any and all off-ice concerns and the circus went back to being an annual visitor to the St. Pete Times Forum rather than a permanent resident. With the appointment of Steve Yzerman as general manager, credibility returned to the franchise and new head coach Guy Boucher was widely regarded as the hottest commodity on the off-season coaching market.

Without a solitary player move, hockey life in Tampa was good again.

But far be it from Yzerman to rest on the comfort that fans surely feel by him simply not being one of those other guys. The addition of former Flyers forward Simon Gagne headlines a list of shrewd off-season maneuvers for the rookie GM and the revamped roster could very well translate to the sort of on-ice success that will make Lightning followers quickly forgot about three non-playoff seasons gone by.

 

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