According to Syracuse.com reporter Lindsay Kramer, Riku Helenius has agreed to report back to the ECHL, just days after getting suspended for breaching his contract.
Riku Helenius, the one-time first round pick, informed the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League on Wednesday that he was leaving the team to return home to Finland, thereby resulting in a suspension from the Lightning for breach of contract.
With usual Syracuse Crunch goaltender Cedrick Desjardins and Kristers Gudlevskis on their way to Montreal to fill in with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Crunch were forced to sign journeyman AHLer Allen York and Central Hockey League puck stopper Grant Rollheiser to fill in. Rollheiser was unable to make it in time due to travel issues, leaving the team to sign 46 year old emergency backup John Parks to sit on the bench.
But what about Helenius, a long time prospect with the team? Well, on Wednesday, it was reported that the Finnish netminder had left the ECHL’s Florida Everblades without permission, leaving the team no choice but to suspend him for breaching the terms of his contract.
On Monday, Helenius agreed to return to the ECHL for at least the time being, but the Everblades weren’t interested. With the team already committed to former NHL draft picks Connor Knapp and Trevor Cann, the roster spot isn’t available for a third goaltender. Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said he is trying to find room for the goalie elsewhere, likely in the ECHL, but a team has yet to been found.
When Gudlevskis leaves to play for Latvia in the Olympics later this week, BriseBois said Desjardins will return to Syracuse to team up with York, who will likely get released once the Olympics are over. All this makes a return to Syracuse highly unlikely for Helenius, minus an unforeseen injury. He struggled with the Crunch in an early stint last month, going 2-3-0 with a 3.43 GAA and .875 SP in five games.
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