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Tampa Bay Lightning signs goalie Jaroslav Janus, 2009 draft pick, demotes ex-first-rounder Riku Helenius

TAMPA — Lightning goaltenders coach Cap Raeder moved his hand up to describe the improving game of minor-league G Jaroslav Janus. To describe Riku Helenius, Raeder's motion was flat.

"Helenius, he's working hard; there's nothing wrong with him," Raeder said. "But (Janus) is like this, so we have to take advantage of it."

That meant signing Janus, who was with Erie of the junior Ontario Hockey League, to a three-year, entry-level contract and assigning him to AHL Norfolk.

With Dustin Tokarksi the Admirals' No. 1, Helenius is the odd man out, a notable demotion given the Finn was drafted 15th overall in 2006.

It will be interesting to see where Helenius lands.

GM Brian Lawton said Tokarksi and Janus will get the bulk of the playing time for now. But he also said, "We want to keep all the guys playing," and a loan to an ECHL team was a possibility for one of the three.

Lawton said a solution could come within 10 days.

Janus, with 27 saves Saturday in Norfolk's 3-2 loss to Adirondack, gets credit for creating the nice problem.

Drafted 162nd overall last year, he was 7-4-2 in 13 games for Erie with a 2.81 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. Lawton said Janus needs better competition to take the next step.

Raeder said he was convinced during a recent trip to Erie, where Janus used techniques taught at last summer's rookie camp and September's training camp.

The main lesson: use positioning and technique to make saves instead of reactions.

"It's a hard thing to teach," Raeder said. "When I went to see him in Erie, all I expected was, 'How far has he reverted back?' That happens all the time. He's been away from us for two months. Did he revert back? He didn't revert back at all. It was, like, 'Whoa.' "

ROUND TWO: Mark Parrish, a former NHL All-Star, is in a second 25-game tryout contract with the Admirals.

Parrish, 33, who took a leave from the team to be with his wife for the birth of their baby, has eight goals, 14 points in 27 games and is minus-7.

"He's been really reliable defensively and starting to score much more consistently," Lawton said.

Any chance he will be brought to Tampa Bay?

"If his game progressed, we'd certainly look at it," Lawton said. "But this year is big for him to, what his words are, re-establish his work ethic. He had gotten away from that a little bit. There are too many young players chomping at the bit to get in this league where you can't let up, no matter who you are."

BIG CHANCE: If Brandon Bochenski, Norfolk's top scorer, is to stick with the Lightning, he'll have to do it in the short term as "an eight-minute, 10-minute guy" on the bottom two lines, coach Rick Tocchet said:

"He can't be a liability for us defensively. He's got to give us energy. And a guy like him, if he gets the puck on his stick in the slot, he can score. He's done it at the minor-league level. That's the spot we're looking for, where a guy can fill that role for us."

Tampa Bay Lightning signs goalie Jaroslav Janus, 2009 draft pick, demotes ex-first-rounder Riku Helenius 01/03/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 3, 2010 10:28pm]
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