VETERAN FINNISH NETMINDER COMING OFF DOMINANT PERFORMANCE AT 2006 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Fredrik Norrena to a one-year, Entry Level contract, it was announced by Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster.
Norrena, 32, led Finland to the Bronze Medal at the recent World Championships in Latvia, leading the tournament in goals-against average (1.11), save percentage (.951) and shutouts (3). The 6-foot, 189-pound native of Pietarsaari, Finland also appeared in two games for the Silver Medal-winning Finns at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Italy, recording a pair of shutouts.
In 12 total international starts for Finland in the Olympics (2006) and World Championships (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), Norrena has a 9-3 record with a remarkable seven shutouts in the nine wins, including a 37-save, 5-0 victory against Canada in the Bronze Medal game of the 2006 World Championships on May 21.
"They say good things come to those who wait, and we have waited four years to get Fredrik to North America," Feaster said. "Had we not signed him by June 1, we would have lost our rights to him and he would have been unrestricted. This past season Fredrik played in the Olympics and won a Bronze Medal at the World Championships. He, and we, believe it is time for him to put his game to the test at the NHL level, and we look forward to seeing him in his first Lightning camp this fall."
Selected by the Lightning in the seventh round, 213th overall, at the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Norrena has spent the past four seasons as one of the top goaltenders in the Swedish Elite League. He made his Swedish debut in 2002-03 and won the league title that year with Vastra Frolunda, and has spent the past three seasons with Linkopings. He led the league in goals-against average in 2003-04 (1.69) and 2005-06 (2.16) while leading the league in save percentage (.939) and setting a league mark for shutouts in a season (9) in 2003-04. In 2004-05, Norrena's 1.86 goals-against average in 49 games was second in the league, and in his past eight professional seasons his goals-against average has never been higher than 2.42 and his save percentage has never been lower than .907.
Prior to joining the Swedish Elite League, Norrena spent 10 seasons in his native Finland, making his debut in Finland's top league in 1992-93 at age 19. Norrena spent the majority of his time in Finland playing for TPS Turku (nine seasons), splitting the 1997-98 season between AIK Solna in Sweden and Lukko Rauma in Finland. He led Turku to league championships in 1994-95, 1998-99, 1999-00 and 2000-01.