Russian website championat.ru is reporting a rumor sourced to Sport-Express that goaltender Vasily Koshechkin may possibly play next season for KHL club Mytischi. Koshechkin split last season between Togliatti and Magnitogorsk of the KHL and was reportedly an option to be signed by the Lightning this summer if ex-GM Brian Lawton had remained in Tampa Bay. Mytischi added Lightning prospect Denis Kazionov to its roster earlier this offseason and recently re-signed former Lightning draft pick Alexei Glukhov.
Hockey Expressen is reporting that the agent of Lightning goaltending prospect Riku Helenius, Jay Grossman, has announced the Finnish born former first round pick will play for Sodertalje in the Swedish Elitserien again next season. Helenius joined Sodertalje late last season and backstopped the club to a first place finish in the Kval till Elitserien, the annual promotion/relegation tournament. The move may be a positive for Helenius' development, as he is expected to be Sodertalje's starter next year and the Lightning already have a glut of Norfolk-bound goaltenders with Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus in the fold. Having Helenius in Sodertalje allows the Lightning the luxury of having him develop with plenty of starts in a premiere European league. Helenius is entering the final year of his entry-level deal with the Lightning.
Finland won the final leg of the annual Euro Tour, the LG Games, on goal differential over the Czech Republic. Lightning prospects Vasily Koshechkin and Johan Harju participated for Russia and Sweden, respectively, as did current Lightning player Victor Hedman for the Swedes. In addition, ex-Lightning player Evgeni Artyukhin played for Russia while ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil played for the Czech Republic. The tournament is a tune-up for the upcoming World Championships.
Finland 5 @ Russia 4 (SO)
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, DNP
Potential 2010 first round pick Mikael Granlund scored the shootout winning goal in Finland's 5-4 victory over Russia. Former Lightning forward Evgeni Artyukhin had a goal in the match for the Russians, with one assist going to another former Lightning forward, Alex Svitov. Former Lightning defenseman Janne Niskala also had a power play assist in the match for the Finns.
Czech Republic 2 @ Sweden 1 (SO)
Johan Harju, Sweden, 0-0-0, 2 PIM
Jakub Klepis was the only shooter to convert in the shootout session, lifting the Czech Republic to a 2-1 win over Sweden. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had Sweden's only goal in the match.
Sweden 2 @ Russia 4
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, Win, 34/36, 2.00 GAA, .944 sv%
Johan Harju, Sweden, 1-0-1, 0 PIM
Despite a goal from Lightning prospect Johan Harju, Sweden fell hard to Russia 4-2 in the second match of the LG Games. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman took a late minor for holding in the match.
Russia 2 @ Czech Republic 4
Vasily Koshechkin, Russia, DNP
Ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil assisted on a second period goal by Petr Koukal in the Czech Republic's 4-2 win over Russia.
Sweden 3 @ Finland 2
Johan Harju, Sweden, 0-1-1, 0 PIM
Lightning prospect Johan Harju assisted on Niklas Persson's shorthanded game winning goal in Sweden's 3-2 win over archrival Finland.
Harju finished second among the Swedes in scoring with 1 goal and 2 points in 3 games with a +3 rating and 4 penalty minutes. Victor Hedman, for his part, had 1 goal in 3 games and a +2 rating with 2 penalty minutes. On Team Russia, Vasily Koshechkin was 1-0-0, with a 2.00 GAA and .944 sv% in his only appearance.
Ex-Lightning forward Evgeni Artyukhin had 1 goal in 3 games but was -2 with 4 penalty minutes. Former first-rounder Alex Svitov had 1 assist and was also -2 with 2 penalty minutes. Former Lightning defenseman Janne Niskala had a helper in 3 games and a +2 rating. Ex-Lightning prospect Marek Kvapil had a helper in 2 games and a +2 rating.
Among potential 2010 first round picks, Finland's Mikael Granlund had 1 goal and 2 points and was -1 in 3 games. Russia's Vladimir Tarasenko was scoreless and -1 in 3 games.
KHL Gagarin Cup Finals
(2)KHK MVD 0 @ (3)Kazan 2
Kazan Wins the Series 4-3
Kazan Wins the KHL Gagarin Cup Championship
Dmitri Kazionov, Kazan, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 52 GP, 18-9-27, +8, 18 PIM
Playoff totals: 22 GP, 3-4-7, +8, 12 PIM
Finnish netminder Petri Vehanen pitched a 30 save shutout in the biggest game of the year to lead Kazan to a 2-0 Game Seven win over KHK MVD and the 2010 KHL Gagarin Cup Championship. Kazan's game winning goal was scored 1:18 into the second period by former Lightning first round pick Nikita Alexeev. Later in the period, former NHLer Niko Kapanen scored the insurance marker for Ak Bars off an assist by Lightning prospect Dmitri Kazionov, who played 17:34 in the match. Kazionov had a helper in each of the last three games of the Gagarin Cup Finals. Kazan outscored KHK MVD 9-1 in the final two games of the series to overcome a 3-2 series deficit.
With Kazionov and Kazan's victory, the season has come to a close for the Lightning's European prospects. Bolt Prospects extends its thanks to our readers for this, our fifth season of prospect coverage.