Are the Lightning set to announce a net gain?
Twitter chatter over the last several days and weeks, from Tampa Bay Lightning fans and Boltosphere media personalities, has been a mix of banter as well as impatience over the goaltending front. Only Mathieu Garon is under contract for the 2012-13 season as it stands, and speculation has existed for a while about the organizations desire for a long-term answer in net.
Bolt Prospects writer Chad Schnarr joked on Twitter on Wednesday, saying "We have hereby dubbed draft weekend, Weekend at Bernier's " in homage of speculation the Lightning will try to acquire Jonathan Bernier, the Los Angeles Kings backup, at the 2012 NHL Draft next week in Pittsburgh. The 2006 1st round draft pick's name has been mentioned repeatedly as a sought-after commodity for teams looking for goaltending help.
Yet it's another goaltender selected in the 1st round of the 2006 NHL Draft that the Lightning seem to have brought into the fold. A trusted, third-party source with knowledge to the situation has informed Raw Charge that Tampa Bay has come to terms with Finnish goalie Riku Helenius on a two-year contract. We'd previously reported that the two-year length was part of the contract demands by Helenius camp. The team was expected to announce the signing as soon as Thursday.
[Note by John Fontana, 06/13/12 9:05 PM EDT ] RDS confirms the signing and posts the terms
Helenius, 24, was selected 15th overall (4 places behind Bernier, as it were) in the 2006 draft. His addition would not mean the Bolts would be settled with their goaltending situation. Helenius has not played a game in North America since the 2009-10 season, after all, and that was an AHL contest.