Karri Ramo Leaves Tampa Bay Lightning for Russia

Kevin LeeContributor IJune 23, 2009

OTTAWA - MARCH 11:  Karri Ramo #31 of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on before the game against the Ottawa Senators on March 11, 2009 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Lightning-Goalie-Karri-Ramo-Signs-in-Russia/5/21687" target="_blank">Andy Strickland is reporting that Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Karri Ramo has signed a two year contract with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. This signing has not been confirmed by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This is certainly a blow to the Lightning's goaltending as starter Mike Smith is still recovering from post-concussion syndrome and it is still unknown if he can be ready for training camp. Even if Smith is ready to return for training camp, he still has not played hockey for half a year, so it could take awhile before he regain his form.

The Lightning have an abundance of goalies in their system which include Mike McKenna, 2006 first rounder Riku Helenius, 2009 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships gold medalist Dustin Tokarski, and Mike Lundin. But all are not considered ready for the NHL.

Expect the Lightning to dip into the free agent market to pickup a backup goalie. Cheap and available goalies include Jason LaBarbera, Andrew Raycroft, Curtis Sanford, Brent Johnson, Dany Sabourin, and Marc Denis.