Goalie shuffle: Dustin Tokarski back to AHL Norfolk, Riku Helenius to Sweden
The Tampa Bay Lightning re-assigned goaltender Dustin Tokarski to AHL Norfolk, which means Mike Smith, who has missed six games with a neck strain is ready to return to the lineup. The more intriguing transaction, though, was the assignment of minor-league goalie Riku Helenius to Sodertalje of the Swedish elite league.
The move seems to be the latest indication Jaroslav Janus, drafted 162nd overall last year, has passed Helenius on the depth chart. It also is a way to keep Helenius playing as having three goalies at Norfolk was not the best allocation of resources.
Helenius' career has not lived up to his draft status. Selected 15th overall in 2006, he is 14-22-1 in 37 career games with Norfolk with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. This season, he is 5-7-0 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage. In the second year of a three-year entry-level contract, Helenius, who will play in Sweden the rest of this season, under a separate contract with the Swedish team, will still have a year left on his Tampa Bay deal.
Give it up for Janus, though, for pushing his way into the Lightning's plans.
Tokarski appeared in two Lightning games, both in releif, and is better for the experience.