TAMPA BAY SELECTS FINNISH GOALTENDER RIKU HELENIUS
IN 1st ROUND
The Tampa Bay Lightning made four selections at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver today, using their first round choice (15th overall) to select 6-foot-3, 202-pound goaltender Riku Helenius
. Helenius, 18, a native of Palkane, Finland, spent the 2005-06 season with Ilves of the Finnish Junior League, posting a 2.68 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 26 games. He also played in five games with Ives in the Finnish Elite League and skated for Finland at the 2006 World Under-18 Championships, recording a 4-1-1 record and a 1.83 GAA with one shutout.
"Today we addressed a number of areas that are going to stand us well in the future," Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster said. "We added very good speed; we added a top-notch goaltender and once again we built with character."
Helenius was ranked as the top goaltender in the draft by the International Scouting Service, the top European goaltender by the Hockey News and the top Finnish goaltender by NHL Central Scouting. He was given the Directorate Award at the 2005 World U-18 tournament as the top goaltender.
With their second selection of the day in the third round, 78th overall, Tampa Bay selected 6-foot, 175-pound defenseman Kevin Quick from Salisbury High School in Salisbury, Connecticut. In 28 games during the 2005-06 season he scored three goals and tallied 23 points. The left-hand shot was ranked 93rd by NHL Central Scouting entering the draft and is regarded as a fluid skater with good offensive skills.
With the 168th overall selection in the sixth round the Lightning selected defenseman Dane Crowley of the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League. This past season the 6-foot-2, 207-pound native of Winnipeg, Manitoba skated in 71 games between Swift Current and the Saskatoon Blades and scored one goal with 12 points. The 19-year-old also skated in two playoff games for the Broncos and recorded two assists. In 151 career WHL games he has scored three goals and dished out 26 assists.
With their final pick of the day, 198th overall in the seventh round, the Lightning selected left wing Denis Kazionov
of Tver in the Russian Elite League. A 6-3, 187- pound native of Perm, Russia registered one assist in 26 games in 2005-06. Kazionov, 18, is the younger brother of 2002 Lightning draftee Dmitry Kazionov. He was ranked 23rd among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting.