The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Riku Helenius as another option to try and bring their team closer to a second post-season in six seasons.
They already have the NHL’s leading scorer Steven Stamkos and former Stanley Cup winners Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier but it’s been a while since Tampa has had a steady playoff worthy goaltender.
Nikolai Khabibulin and the Lightning were a perfect fit for one another. Their last season together was in 2003-04 when they won the Stanley Cup. Ever since neither Khabibulin nor the Lightning have had much success.
Tampa has been picking up either goalies with little to no experience or veterans who were never starting goalie material to begin with.
Attempting to build their team around Steven Stamkos is their first mistake. Though they should absolutely not get rid of Stamkos by any means they should pick-up a goalie as if they have no star player and need a top-notch goalie to win even a single game.
They just signed Helenius to a two-year contract after being a part-time Bolt for a couple years. He played last season in the Finland hockey league and was awarded as the top goaltender in the league. He finished the season with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman must see enough talent in Helenius to have him signed to a two-year deal because now the Lightning have three goalies on the team who aren’t rostered. One of those goalies includes their AHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals Calder Cup winning goaltender Dustin Tokarski.
Tokarski had some impressive stats last year as well. The 22-year old had a strong regular season with a 32-11 record, five shutouts, .913 save percentage and a 2.23 goals against averaged.
Then in the post-season he was unbelievably strong. In 14 games he was 12-2, had three shutouts, .944 save percentage and a 1.46 goals against average.
These two goalies have impressive stats and successful previous season’s to back them up and on top of these two they also recently traded for Anders Lindback. Lindback was a solid back up for the Nashville Predators and was recently acquired for Sebastian-Caron and a seventh-round pick.
So with numerous other goalies signed to the team you have to think how is it beneficial to have so very many options?
The Lightning hope they find their goalie that can get them back into the post-season otherwise they are going to have more goalies than they’ll know what to do with.