The rise of the 21-year-old Latvian goalie Kristers Gudlevskis as well as the Lightning calling on Cedrick Desjardins while Anders Lindback and Ben Bishop dealt with injuries left their 2006 first-round pick Riku Helenius out in the cold.
Now it appears the team is ready to send Helenius packing.
Lindsay Kramer of Syracuse.com reports the Lightning put Helenius on unconditional waivers and will release him if/when he passes unclaimed at noon on Sunday. Lightning assistant general manager Julien Brisebois says they’re severing ties with Helenius for breach of contract.
Helenius found himself at the short end of the stick in the Lightning organization after the team acquired Bishop and Lindback and now with Desjardins and Gudlevskis getting looks over him, time was running out for Helenius to prove himself. He hasn’t played for Syracuse since Nov. 27.
Facing these kinds of road blocks can be frustrating and if the report is true, refusing to go down to the ECHL won’t do him any favors of landing elsewhere anytime soon.
Fans have gotten to know Team Latvia and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect goalie Kristers Gudlevskis after his incredible performance in a 2-1 loss to Canada in the quarterfinals. Now NHL fans might get to know him a little better.
As Missy Zielinski of the Lightning site shares, coach Jon Cooper said Gudlevskis will head to Tampa instead of back to Syracuse because backup Anders Lindback health status is unknown.
Lindback has been dealing with a sprained left ankle and it came at a poor time as Ben Bishop had been dealing with an injury. At a time when Lindback could’ve shown that he too could prove reliable, he wound up out of the lineup and opened things up for Cedrick Desjardins and Gudlevskis to get the call from the AHL.
Now Gudlevskis will at least practice with the Bolts while Lindback’s ankle is figured out. With his new found celebrity thanks to his play in the Olympics, Gudlevskis could earn a bit more attention this time around.
Tampa Bay is going to give an old, new face a shot in goal tonight. Lightning coach Guy Boucher announced 27 year-old Cedrick Desjardins would get the call against Montreal, his former organization, tonight in Tampa.
The Lightning have had their ups and downs in goal this season and even though Anders Lindback played strong against Winnipeg on Thursday, giving Desjardins the nod allows them to see if they’ve got something with their one-time prospect. Desjardins got his only two previous NHL starts with the Lightning during the 2010-11 season after being acquired from Montreal for Karri Ramo.
Tampa’s record isn’t anything inspiring at the moment as they sit tied for 12th in the East with Buffalo and Washington, but they’re just six points back of Southeast Division leading Carolina. The Lightning hope Desjardins can give them the kind of stability out of the minors they didn’t feel they got with Dustin Tokarski.