TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning addressed their
goaltending concerns Friday by obtaining goalie Marc Denis from the
Columbus Blue Jackets for left wing Fredrik Modin and goalie
John Grahame and Sean Burke, who Tampa Bay turned to after 2004
Stanley Cup champion goalie Nikolai Khabibulin signed with Chicago,
struggled throughout the season and aren't expected to return. The
Lightning finished eighth in the Eastern Conference and were
eliminated in five games by Ottawa in the opening playoff round.
"Marc Denis is a proven No. 1 goaltender," Lightning general
manager Jay Feaster said. "He is a workhorse and a fierce
competitor. We have scouted Marc extensively and had actually
targeted him as early as the trade deadline this past season. We
are confident Marc will bring us the type of reliable and
consistent goaltending we need in order to return our franchise to
the type of success we have enjoyed in the past."
Denis, 28, has a career record of 94-156-28 with a 2.97
goals-against average. He was 21-25-1 last season, including 17-6-1
when the Blue Jackets scored at least three goals.
Modin had 31 goals and 23 assists last season for Tampa Bay. He
has won a Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold during his career.
"He's a big, talented top-6 forward," Columbus general manager
Doug MacLean said.
The Blue Jackets scored only 223 goals last season, ranking 12th
out of 15 teams in the West. Columbus, at 35-43-4, had the
conference's third-worst record.
The trade also clears the way for Pascal Leclaire (11-15-3, 3.23
GAA) to take over as the No. 1 goalie in Columbus.
"Marc is an outstanding goaltender and has been an integral
part of our organization," MacLean said. "This was not an easy
trade to make. But we feel like Pascal Leclaire is ready to take
the next step."
Dmitry Afanasenkov could be given a chance to take Modin's
top-line spot with the Lightning. He had nine goals and 15 points
in 68 games.
"The most difficult part of this deal is having to include
Fredrik Modin, a player who helped this franchise establish
credibility," Feaster said. "As thrilled as we are to be adding
Marc Denis to our organization, it is very tough to part with Big