26-Year-Old Goalie – Free Agent
Riku Helenius Contract Information:
One-way contract terminated by the Lightning in February 2014.
Helenius was placed on unconditional waivers Saturday, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports.
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Riku Helenius: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Wow -- a year ago, we thought we'd seen the last of this once highly touted netminder. But a year overseas brought perspective and improved play, and he's back in the Bolts' sights. He still has competition in the system. But he's worth watching from afar, just in case.
The swirl you see is Helenius' pro career circling the bowl. The guy once tagged as the Bolts' goalie of the future has been passed by Dustin Tokarski, Cedrick Desjardins and Jaroslav Janus in the team's goaltending pipeline and was banished to Europe last season in order to get playing time. He even failed to impress over there! He has no place in even the deepest of keeper formats and will likely never see the light of an NHL arena again.
Hmmm... Helenius looked like that cursed first-round bust early last year but seemed to rediscover his game (a bit) after a return to Sweden in mid-season. His confidence took a hit and he now sits behind Dustin Tokarski, Jaroslav Janus and newcomer Cedric Desjardins on the Bolts' depth chart. This is a make or break season for the big butterfly specialist -- his entry-level deal expires after this year. He needs to explode this year in Sweden to stick. Watch from afar but certainly do not use a keeper spot on him.
Helenius' star has dimmed but he still has a chance to rekindle past glory. He's big and calm, and plays the butterfly well. He needs to play well this season in the AHL in order to stay ahead of the other prospects nipping at his heels. He remains a keeper but monitor his progress this season carefully -- this could be a make-or-break year for his keeper status.
Helenius remains the Bolts' 'tender of the future but his progress has been slow. He tanked at the 2008 world junior tourney while playing for Finland but seemed to right the ship playing for Seattle of the WHL. He is still a solid keeper but Mike Smith's presence means Riku's timeline has been extended.
Helenius is yet another product of the Finnish goaltending machine. This kid put in a commanding performance at the Under-18 world tournament and has good a shot at an NHL starter's job as any draft pick taken recently. He's along way off, though, so you'll need to consider whether he's worth a spot on your development roster just yet.