Russian Hockey Digest's Yura Zyuzin has released his site's Top-20 Most NHL Ready Russian Prospects. Checking in at 9th on the list is Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin while in 18th is hulking winger Evgeny Artyukhin.
Kudos to Zyuzin for using Artyukhin's Bolt Prospects administered "R2" nickname in his report.
Damian Cristodero of the St. Pete Times is reporting on his blog goaltender Vasily Koshechkin will stay in Russia this season. Crisdotero cites a conversation with Koshechkin's agent Jay Grossman in which the netminder expressed a sense of obligation to honor the final year of his Superleague contract. Koshechkin's contract was recent sold from Lada Togliatti to Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Superleague. Early reports from this summer that had Koshechkin on the way to CSKA turned out to be unsubstantiated.
UPDATE: (May 30) In the Russian newspaper, "Soviet Sport," another version of why Koshechkin's contract with the Lightning is unsigned was published.
It is rumored that Koshechkin wants to test himself at the training camp and sign the contract only after the camp if he will see by the results of the camp "enough possibilities for the career growth." As it was reported he wants to go to the camp without a contract with any team and after the camp he plans to sign a contract with Tampa or CSKA.
Anyway, those reports, no matter what is the truth if there is a truth in both newspaper notes, say that Koshechkin plans to try himself at least at the Lightning camp.
While Sport-Express in Russia is reporting Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin plans to continue his career next year in the NHL and is "close" to signing a contract with Tampa Bay, the Lightning is saying not so fast.
Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster confirmed to Bolt Prospects (BP) the clubâ€™s strong interest to sign Koshechkin, but referred to the two sides even being in negotiations as â€œa bit of a stretch.â€
Here's what we learned this week in communication with the Lightning:
2006 first round draft pick Riku Helenius made a successful return from major shoulder surgery when he suited up for Finland at an Under-19 tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia last month. The Lightning was in attendance when the goaltender played his first game since early autumn, but Finland was on their heels all night and Russia scored two power play goals to beat Helenius and Finland 4-0. Finland didn't fare much better in Helenius' second game, a 5-1 loss to Sweden.
While the GAA may not look ideal for the first rounder, the Lightning said he played well. The important thing to look at here is he's playing again and is in good health. In fact, after missing nearly all the 2006-2007 season, a healthy Helenius is now working out twice a day.