The turning of the calendar is usually an exciting time in hockey – teams have a pretty good idea of who will make the playoffs and the buzz around undrafted free agents is starting to get loud. While the lockout is robbing us of our NHL joy, let’s take a look at how some the Tampa Bay Lightning’s goaltenders are performing this season. I’ve included the six who I believe have the greatest chance to make an impact in the 2013-2014 season. » Continue reading “2013: A Lightning Goaltending Odyssey”
First off, what does everyone think of Raichu Helenius? It’s a stupid joke that’s been kicking around in my head for a while. If it’s well-received, then we’ll see him again. If not, it’ll disappear faster than that sitcom about Hitler.
Through five games, your Syracuse Crunch are 4-0-0-1 and sit atop the East Division, one point ahead of the 4-0-0-0 Norfolk Admirals. The Crunch is leading the league in goals for with 21 (4.2 per game), but their 17 goals against are certainly less than impressive. This brings me to the meat of the post: how is the battle between Riku Helenius and Dustin Tokarski panning out thus far? » Continue reading “Early Season Review: Dustin Tokarski vs. Riku Helenius”
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s (well, Syracuse Crunch’s) three-headed goalie monster scenario appears to be resolved.
In a very roughly translated article, it appears that Jaroslav Janus has signed a tryout contract with HC Slovan Bratislava of the KHL. His KHL rights were held previously by Yaroslavl. Per the article, Yaroslavl has allowed him to play elsewhere. The story was first broken by Corey Pronman on Twitter and later shared by our friends at Bolt Prospects.
What does this mean for Janus’s development? It’s a chance for him to play in a lot of games as a potential starting goaltender. Despite his talent level, he wasn’t going to get that chance with Dustin Tokarski and Riku Helenius likely being the other two goaltenders in Syracuse.
Janus posted solid numbers in 34 appearances for the Norfolk Admirals last season: 23-8-2, 2.36 GAA, and a .914 save percentage. He stepped up admirably for Norfolk when Tokarski spent time in Tampa last season and did not allow Norfolk’s tremendous winning streak to be broken.
There’s always a chance that he could end up staying overseas. However, as we saw with Helenius, the team is not afraid to pursue players in the organization who have gone overseas. It will all come down to Janus’s progression and it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
- Ok, Lightning fans. Time to get our vote on. The nominees for ESPN’s ESPY awards were announced and Steven Stamkos is one of the men in the Best NHL Player category. No disrespect to Claude Giroux, Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, or Jonathan Quick. Stammer is the man and this is an outlet to let our voices be heard.
I know, I know. ESPN and the NHL have an estranged relationship, and it’s amazing that they are even including the game of hockey in their awards show. This show is a great opportunity for everyone to see what we know here in Tampa. We may not be a traditional market steeped in history or have the largest fan base, but by Gretzky we are rabid. Vote Stamkos! To make it even easier, you can vote here.
- More news on the signing front. Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was signed to a one year, one way contract for $600,000 today. After being acquired from Calgary in the Blair Jones trade last season, Mikkelson played 41 games for Tampa. In those games he had one goal, three points, and thirteen penalty minutes.
The signing leaves the Bolts with 4 unsigned restricted free agents: Keith Aulie, Jaroslav Janus, Brian Lee, and Evan Oberg. Free agency mania starts Sunday at noon.
- Newly drafted goaltender Andrei Vasilevski was selected by Mississauga in the 2nd round of the CHL Import Draft today. No word if this means he is definitely coming to North America to play, as he is still under contract in Russia.
The NHL Draft just ended on Saturday, but Lightning GM Steve Yzerman continues to stay busy instead of waiting for free agency. Tampa issued qualifying offers to five players that were set to become restricted free agents on July 1st. In doing so, the Bolts maintain negotiating rights with a number of their top prospects and young players.
Brian Lee, Brendan Mikkelson, Keith Aulie, Evan Oberg, and Jaroslav Janus. That’s four defensemen and a goalie for those of you keeping score at home.
A few names were missing from that list of offers: defenseman Sebastien Piche and left wing Benoit Pouliot. Tampa did just acquire Pouliot’s rights on Saturday and no qualifying offer doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be signed. No offer means he can’t invoke his salary arbitration rights. With the CBA situation in flux, that may be the best possible scenario for the Lightning.
In other news, the Florida Everblades have renewed their affiliation with the Lightning and add AHL affiliation with the Syracuse Crunch. Tampa’s ECHL affiliate is coming off the first Kelly Cup Championship in franchise history.
And finally, Teddy Purcell is having one heck of a summer.