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Goalie fix? Lightning ink Riku Helenius

Jun 13, 2012, 10:00 PM EDT

Steve Yzerman Getty Images

While the Tampa Bay Lightning’s defense needs some serious help in its own right, Dwayne Roloson‘s 2011-12 implosion showed how glaring the Bolts’ hole is in net.* GM Steve Yzerman doesn’t exactly seem enthralled by the free agent market, either … at least in North America. Renaud Lavoie reports that the team signed Riku Helenius to a two-year deal today.

Lavoie reports that the two-year deal begins as a two-way contract in 2012-13 and then becomes a one-way one in 2013-14. He’ll register a $600K cap hit when he’s at the NHL level, with a $550K salary in 12-13 and $650K in 13-14.

This isn’t the first time the Lightning franchise and Helenius have been connected. They selected him with the 15th pick of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, so it’s likely he’s been on the Bolts’ radar for some time. Judging by the one-way nature of the second season, it’s obvious that the Lightning plan for him to at least be a backup within the life of the contract.

Yzerman might have even bigger hopes, though.

* – Seeing Mike Smith enjoy a borderline-Vezina campaign with Phoenix reinforced both ideas, by the way.

  1. yotesfan3 - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Smith should have won it

  2. lsxphotog - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    This is actually a pretty big deal. Scouting on Helenius as a young prospect before the draft was nothing but positive. His departure from the NHL structure left little hope for Tampa to retrieve their pick again, but I guess Yzerman is good at batting his eyelashes and was able to convince this young kid to come back to the NHL. He has enjoyed tremendous success over in Europe and is considered to be one of the top-rated goaltenders in the world. I’m certain he will see ice time this year and will vying for a starting role against whoever the Lightning lock-up for the number 1 spot for the next few seasons. I’m happy to hear this as a Lightning fan.

    • danphipps01 - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      Yzerman’s proven disturbingly adept at convincing people to come to Tampa. There’ve been a few stories I’ve read to the tune of “the player really bought into Yzerman’s case for joining the Lightning.” Guy’s gotta be doing SOMETHING right.

  3. kingbuccaneer - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    We need ALL the goaltenders in camp we can get.

    Keep ’em comin, Stevie

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