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Helenius, Riku

Two Added to Admirals Camp Roster

According to Erik Erlendsson's blog, the Norfolk Admirals have added centers Justin Taylor and Shawn Collymore to their camp roster. Not much to see there. Erlendsson also writes that speculation that Riku Helenius is a shoo in to appear in Lightning camp are false and that he is slated to return to Seattle of the WHL immediately after the Traverse City tournament.

Crowley Aiming to be an Admiral

As the countdown to the start of the 2007 Traverse City (TC) Prospects Tournament finally comes to an end tomorrow, the future is now for many of the prospects making up the Lightning’s 2007 TC squad.

CHL Preseason: Helenius Makes WHL Debut

Lightning 2006 first rounder Riku Helenius made his much-anticipated North American debut Friday night for the Seattle Thunderbirds, albeit in a preseason game. Helenius played the first half of Seattle's 5-4 win over Chilliwack, stopping 17 of 18 shots. According to the Seattle papers, the Thunderbirds view Helenius' addition as a substantial piece to their league title chances.

Everett also began their preseason Friday night, but it is unclear as of yet if Dane Crowley played. The official WHL site does not provide stats for preseason games and a game report from the Silvertips did not mention Crowley in the game.

In the QMJHL, defensemen Michael Ward had an assist, four PIM, and a minus-1 rating for Lewiston in a 8-4 preseason loss to St. John.

NHL.com Lightning Prospect Features

NHL.com has a couple of articles out today regarding the Lightning's prospects. First up, John McGourty interviews General Manager Jay Feaster on the top prospects in the Lightning organization. Feaster gives his opinions on defensemen Matt Smaby, Andy Rogers, and Vladimir Mihalik, forward Blair Jones, and goaltenders Karri Ramo and Riku Helenius.

Next up Shawn P. Roarke interviews Helenius from the Team USA Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. Helenius talks about leaving Finland behind to join the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL.

Crisdotero: Helenius is Coming

Damian Crisdotero reports on his blog that Riku Helenius will indeed come to North America this coming season to play for Seattle of the WHL. No mention of a source, but Helenius' move across the pond seems likely now that his Finnish club Ilves has signed veteran netminder Tero Leinonen away from Lulea of the Swedish Elitserien.

Helenius Selected by Seattle; Teams Pass on Cunti

Lightning 2006 first round draft pick Riku Helenius was selected by the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round of the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft today. Helenius, a 6-3 goaltender who missed practically all of last season with Ilves Jr. in Finland because of a shoulder injury, was taken with the 46th overall pick.

“We spoke to Tampa Bay a year ago about adding Helenius to our team but the player was not ready to come at that time,” Seattle General Manager Russ Farwell said in a story on the Thunderbirds’ web site.

“There is a good chance this year he could come over and we felt we would take that chance because this combination would give us the best 1-2 goalie combination in our division.”

CHL Import Draft Set For Next Wednesday

The 2007 NHL Entry Draft taking place Friday and Saturday aren't the only drafts taking place in the next week. Next Wednesday, June 27th, the CHL will hold their 2007 Import Draft which takes on added importance as rumors persist that 2006 1st round pick Riku Helenius might cross the pond to play Canadian junior hockey next season.

Helenius Signs Entry Level Deal

The Tampa Bay Lightning issued a press release today reporting that 2006 first round pick Riku Helenius has been signed to a three-year entry level contract.

The signing comes as a surprising and unexpected move by Tampa as Helenius missed most of last season with a shoulder injury. It has been speculated that Helenius may be coming to North America this fall to play in Canadian juniors, and that signing him a year early will mitigate signing risks next summer in the event he has a breakout season.

Prospect News Briefs

Here's what we learned this week in communication with the Lightning:

2006 first round draft pick Riku Helenius made a successful return from major shoulder surgery when he suited up for Finland at an Under-19 tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia last month. The Lightning was in attendance when the goaltender played his first game since early autumn, but Finland was on their heels all night and Russia scored two power play goals to beat Helenius and Finland 4-0. Finland didn't fare much better in Helenius' second game, a 5-1 loss to Sweden.

While the GAA may not look ideal for the first rounder, the Lightning said he played well. The important thing to look at here is he's playing again and is in good health. In fact, after missing nearly all the 2006-2007 season, a healthy Helenius is now working out twice a day.

Bolt Prospects Prospect of the Week: 4/2-4/8

With all due respect once again to Ryan Munce, who single handedly willed Johnstown into the playoffs this week with a 49 save performance in the season finale at Reading...

The Lightning organization's quietest success story of the season scores his third Bolt Prospects award of the season.

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