According to Erik Erlendsson's blog, the Norfolk Admirals have added centers Justin Taylor and Shawn Collymore to their camp roster. Not much to see there. Erlendsson also writes that speculation that Riku Helenius is a shoo in to appear in Lightning camp are false and that he is slated to return to Seattle of the WHL immediately after the Traverse City tournament.
As the countdown to the start of the 2007 Traverse City (TC) Prospects Tournament finally comes to an end tomorrow, the future is now for many of the prospects making up the Lightningâ€™s 2007 TC squad.
Lightning 2006 first rounder Riku Helenius made his much-anticipated North American debut Friday night for the Seattle Thunderbirds, albeit in a preseason game. Helenius played the first half of Seattle's 5-4 win over Chilliwack, stopping 17 of 18 shots. According to the Seattle papers, the Thunderbirds view Helenius' addition as a substantial piece to their league title chances.
Everett also began their preseason Friday night, but it is unclear as of yet if Dane Crowley played. The official WHL site does not provide stats for preseason games and a game report from the Silvertips did not mention Crowley in the game.
In the QMJHL, defensemen Michael Ward had an assist, four PIM, and a minus-1 rating for Lewiston in a 8-4 preseason loss to St. John.
NHL.com has a couple of articles out today regarding the Lightning's prospects. First up, John McGourty interviews General Manager Jay Feaster on the top prospects in the Lightning organization. Feaster gives his opinions on defensemen Matt Smaby, Andy Rogers, and Vladimir Mihalik, forward Blair Jones, and goaltenders Karri Ramo and Riku Helenius.
Next up Shawn P. Roarke interviews Helenius from the Team USA Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. Helenius talks about leaving Finland behind to join the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL.
Damian Crisdotero reports on his blog that Riku Helenius will indeed come to North America this coming season to play for Seattle of the WHL. No mention of a source, but Helenius' move across the pond seems likely now that his Finnish club Ilves has signed veteran netminder Tero Leinonen away from Lulea of the Swedish Elitserien.