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Jaroslav Janus expected to play 2012-13 season in Europe

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

The situation regarding the surplus of goaltenders on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organizational depth chart has all of a sudden become a bit clearer.

That’s due, of course, to the expectation that goaltending prospect Jaroslav Janus will play the upcoming 2012-13 season in Europe, according to the team.

“Both parties felt that it was important for Jaro to play as many games as possible,” Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said. “With Dustin Tokarski and Riku Helenius already under contract, we agreed that the best opportunities for Jaro to play were going to be elsewhere.”

Janus spent the majority of the 2011-12 season serving as a backup to Tokarski in Norfolk.

Janus, 22, is coming off a career year.

In 34 games with Norfolk of the American Hockey League last season, he posted a record of 23-8-2 to go along with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage, and played nearly flawless as a starter while Tokarski was on NHL recall with Tampa Bay.

But as BriseBois stated, with two netminders already set to compete for playing time with the organization’s new AHL affiliate in Syracuse, there simply won’t be enough minutes to be had amongst three goaltenders who are still in their own respective stages of development.

Having that said, the decision seems to benefit both sides, as Janus will have a prime opportunity to log top minutes and improve his game, while also allowing the Lightning organization another year to evaluate his progress as it continues to make important decisions regarding its future plans.

As of now, however, Janus has yet to sign a European contract and remains unsigned, although the Lightning do retain the rights to negotiate with the native of Presov, Slovakia after tendering him a qualifying offer prior to July 1.

“Because of his performance last season, his athleticism, and his strong work ethic, we believe that Jaro has the potential to become an NHL goalie,” BriseBois added.

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