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Reports on Hasek, Helenius keep Tampa Bay Lightning goalie search a topic of conversation

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s goaltending situation got some more media play the past few days when we read that Dominik Hasek is interested in returning to the NHL and 2006 Lightning first-round draft choice Riku Helenius wants a two-year, one-way contract to return from his native Finland.

Let’s start with this: there is no chance the Lightning is interested in Hasek despite what a newspaper from his native Czech Republic said. Can you imagine Tampa Bay going with a 47-year-old goalie after last season with 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson?

True, Hasek, who played the past two seasons in Europe, has had a Hall of Fame career, but come on.

The Lightning’s situation with Helenius, 24, is more grounded in reality. The No. 15 overall pick of 2006 by Tampa Bay had a stellar season leading Jyp to the Finnish elite league championship.

Still, if Helenius’ demands, reported by the Finnish web site, are true it would seem a return to the Lightning will be difficult. It is not believed Tampa Bay, which still holds Helenius’ rights, sees him as the immediate answer to its search for a No. 1 goalie. If that is the case, the Lightning is more likely to offer a two-way deal. And if that is the case, Helenius could probably do a lot better in Europe.

Even so, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is not closing the door and said he will continue conversations with Helenius’ agent Jay Grossman, who wrote only in an email there is nothing new to report.

Added Yzerman: “I’m not going to comment on any potential terms of a contract. We do have an interest in bringing Riku back to North America.”

So much so, Yzerman spoke to Helenius during this month’s world championship.

“I enjoyed the meeting,” Yzerman said. “He’s a very nice young man. I had some discussions with Jay Grossman, and we’ll continue to talk about it.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 4:19pm]


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