According to a report in the Augusta Chronicle, the Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned goaltending prospect and 2006 1st round pick Riku Helenius from the AHL's Norfolk Admirals to the ECHL's Augusta Lynx. This move was not unexpected as Helenius had been a healthy scratch for both of Norfolk's season opening games last weekend behind goaltenders Karri Ramo and Mike McKenna.
Helenius joins Tampa defensive prospect Kevin Quick who was reassigned last week, and the Lynx expect Helenius' arrival by as early as noon on Thursday. The Lynx open their 2008-09 season at home Friday night against the Mississippi Sea Wolves.
This season might prove to be a challenge for the Lynx with a relatively young and inexperienced roster comprised of nine rookies and seven more 2nd year pros. No player on the Lynx roster qualifies as an ECHL veteran of 250 professional games.
Norfolk General Manager Mike Butters announced Thursday that forward Mitch Fadden would not be signed and was returned to WHL Lethbridge. Fadden, who had 89 points in 72 games last year for Lethbridge, was thought to be a lock for an NHL contract this summer. Prior to the new ownership taking over in Tampa, then-Lightning general manager Jay Feaster told Bolt Prospects it was his intention to get Fadden signed this summer, though they were not under any deadline to do so.
The St. Pete Times is reporting is reporting that prospect defenseman Vladimir Mihalik has been reassigned to the Norfolk Admirals. Mihalik was a training camp surprise, making the season opening Tampa roster ahead of several other blueliners including Andrew Hutchinson and Matt Smaby. Mihalik received praise from Lightning head coach Barry Melrose in his NHL debuts in Prague.
Mihalik's reassignment comes amid speculation that the Bolts might be interested in claiming Calgary Flames veteran defenseman Rhett Warrener off of waivers or signing free agent defensmen Bryan Berard, as the Lightning traded blueliner Shane O'Brien to Vancouver for Lukas Krajicek earlier today. Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger, listed as a non-roster player prior to the opener, might be ready to return to action as he continues to re-hab his off-season surgically repaired shoulder.
As expected, goaltender Karri Ramo has been assigned to AHL Norfolk after returning from Prague where he accompanied the Lightning for the first two games of the regular season. Ramo, who was excellent in the preseason, was penciled in for Norfolk ever since the Bolts signed veteran goalie Olaf Kolzig July 1. Ramo was recalled from Norfolk on December 19 of last year and never returned. He played 22 games for the Lightning last season, going 7-11-3 with a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage. (source: tampabaylightning.com)