Tampa Bay Lightning 1st round pick in the 2006 draft (#15 overall), Finnish goaltender Riku Helenius(31) has already had quite the ride through North American pro leagues and Europe in his 5-year playing career.
Entering his sophomore season he started with Norfolk but after a dozen games was reassigned to the top league in Sweden, where he stayed through the next year while still under he 3-year entry level contract.
For 2011/2012 the decision was made for him to join JYP Jyvaskyla in his home country’s SM-liiga, where he won the National Championship with the team and posted his most impressive numbers yet over the course of the regular season and in the playoffs.
The now 24-year old, 6’3″ 211 lbs. netminder was wooed back to the United States to compete for a job in the show. But due to the NHL lockout the first season of that 2-year deal (the 2nd is a one-way contract) may be spent entirely with the Lightning‘s new minor league affiliate, Syracuse Crunch. The same team that won the 2012 Calder Cup as Norfolk Admirals.
In 8 AHL starts, he’s off to an ok start with a 5-2 record on a very good team but has a not so great 3.04 GAA and .878 SV%. He may heat up as the 2012/2013 rolls on but he’s already mixed it up in a goalie fight early in his time back.