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January 22, 2009

Lightning Reassign RW Steve Downie and D Ty Wishart to Admirals and Reassign G Riku Helenius to ECHL Mississippi

TAMPA BAY, FL – The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have reassigned forward Steve Downie and defenseman Ty Wishart to the Admirals, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced today. In addition, the Lightning have reassigned goaltender Riku Helenius from the Admirals to the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves, Admirals General Manager Mike Butters announced today.

and General Manager Brian Lawton announced today.

Downie, a 5-foot-10, 192-pound native of Newmarket, Ontario, appeared in four games with the Lightning after being recalled on January 14, scoring one goal and one assist with four penalty minutes. He scored a goal in his 50th career NHL game in last night’s 5-3 victory for the Lightning over the Buffalo Sabres. On the season with the Lightning, Downie has two goals and one assist with 20 penalty minutes in 12 games.

The 21-year-old has posted eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points in just 18 games for Norfolk this season. He was named an AHL All-Star earlier this month. Among his notable accomplishments with the Admirals this season are a franchise-record tying four-assist game on December 13 versus Bridgeport, a hat trick on December 27 versus Philadelphia and an Admirals season-high eight-game scoring streak from November 16 – December 27 during which he registered five goals and ten assists.

Downie was acquired by the Lightning from the Philadelphia Flyers on November 7. Prior to the trade, he appeared in four games with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, recording one goal and seven assists. In 22 total AHL games this season, Downie has nine goals and 23 assists for 32 points. In 44 career AHL contests between Norfolk and Philadelphia, the second-year professional has scored 14 goals and 40 assists for 54 points.

The 21-year-old has also appeared in 18 NHL games this season between the Lightning and Flyers. With the Flyers, Downie had 11 penalty minutes in six games. Downie has appeared in 50 career NHL games between Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, recording eight goals and 15 points with 104 penalty minutes. He also appeared in six games with the Flyers during the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, registering one assist and ten penalty minutes.

Downie was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the first round, 29th overall, at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He played in 190 career junior games with Windsor, Peterborough and Kitchener. He amassed 82 career goals and 234 points. He also appeared in 43 OHL playoff games, recording 18 goals and 53 points.

Wishart, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, registered his first NHL point with an assist in last night’s 5-3 win for the Lightning over the Sabres. It was his only game with the Lightning after being called up on Tuesday. Wishart has appeared in his first two career NHL games this season with Tampa Bay, registering one assist and an even plus-minus rating.

The 20-year-old native of Comox, British Columbia, has played in 36 games with the Admirals this season, recording one goal and three points with a plus-2 rating. Wishart scored his first professional goal on December 19 against Albany.

Wishart made his professional debut last season with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL, playing in five games. In 41 career AHL games between Norfolk and Worcester, he has one goal and three points.

Wishart was acquired by the Lightning from San Jose on July 4, 2008. He was drafted by the Sharks in the first round, 16th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Wishart played 262 career games in the WHL with Prince George and Moose Jaw, recording 33 goals and 161 points. He also played in 26 career WHL playoff games, recording four goals and 15 points.

Helenius, a 6-foot-3, 202-pound goaltender from Palkane, Finland, has appeared in one game with the Admirals this season. He made his AHL debut in relief on January 2 in Worcester, stopping 11 of 12 shots without receiving a decision. Helenius appeared in two preseason games for the Admirals, going 1-1-0 with a 4.00 goals-against average and .840 save percentage.

In 11 ECHL games this season, Helenius is 4-5-2 with a 3.80 GAA and .896 save percentage. He has gone 1-1-1 in three games with the Sea Wolves, posting a 3.53 GAA and .944 save percentage. The 20-year-old went 3-4-1 in his first eight games of North American professional hockey with the Augusta Lynx this season, recording his first Norfolk American pro win in his North American pro debut, stopping 44 of 46 shots on October 21 at Gwinnett.

Helenius appeared in his first North American season last year with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League. He notched a 22-12-6 record in 41 games with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. Helenius was originally drafted in the first round (15th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

The Admirals’ nine-game homestand continues with a Friday matchup with the Lake Erie Monsters. Opening faceoff at Scope will be at 7:15 p.m. The first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a free Admirals bucket hat courtesy of Bank of the Commonwealth and Fox43.

To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at (757) 671-8100 or visit Ticketmaster online at Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2008-09 season tickets today. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit anytime!

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