In what has become in some ways an annual tradition, reports from Sweden indicate[url=http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/sport/story/0,2789,687898,00.html] the Lightning are attempting to sign veteran Finnish netminder Fredrik Norrena
.[/url] Norrena, who turns 32 in November, was selected in the 7th round by the Lightning in the 2002 Entry Draft.
A seasoned veteran of the SM-liiga in Finland, Norrena has spent the last three years in the Swedish Elitserien between Vastra Frolunda and Linkopings. In Linkopings, Norrena has been one of the two best goaltenders in Sweden the last two years along with Rangers prospect Henrik Lunqvist who was formerly Norrena's teammate in Frolunda and who will be playing in North America this season.
Norrena, who is a fixture of Finland's Euro Tour teams, had a 1.86 GAA and .934 save percentage with 5 shutouts in Sweden last season. In his career year in '03-'04 he had a stunning .939 save percentage and set the Elitserian single season record with 9 shutouts that year.
Norrena's agent has indicated there is a 50/50 chance his client may join the Lightning and rumors suggest Lightning GM Jay Feaster is working on clauses in the deal which will allow Norrena to attend camp but return to Europe if he is dissatisfied with his placement in the organization at the end of the exhibition season.
News of the Lightning's overtures to Norrena come on the heels of goaltender J.M. Pelletier's signing with the Florida Panthers organization. Speculation indicated Pelletier, who spent the second half of last season with Springfield on loan from the Coyotes organization, might sign as a free agent with the Lightning to provide a veteran tandem mate for Brian Eklund
with the Falcons. Pelletier's ownership of a home in Springfield and his popularity with the Falcons fan base seemed to make him a natural fit, but the Lightning have indicated they are looking in other directions to provide mentorship to Eklund in Springfield next season.
The Lightning will have until Thursday to sign Norrena without penalty under IIHF transfer rules.