Until a recent run of wins, veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson went without a win for months. Yet somehow the former Minnesota Wild netminder managed to put up pretty nice individual numbers beyond his 6-13-1 record, with a nice 91.6 save percentage and a solid 2.64 goals against average.
Apparently Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman feels that Roloson might be a diamond in the Long Island rough, being that he decided to acquire the 41-year-old goalie from the New York Islanders tonight in exchange for minor league defenseman Ty Wishart. This trade brings up two interesting thoughts.
So what now for Dan Ellis and Mike Smith?
Bringing in Rollie the Goalie means that the Lightning might face a Three’s Company scenario in net. (In fact, because of Smith’s injury, the team actually gave prospect Cedrick Desjardins some starts so they technically have four goalies on their roster at CapGeek.com right now.)
Ultimately, it’s going to come down to Ellis, Smith and Roloson as the team’s duo. Roloson ($2.5 million) and Smith ($2.2 million) are in contract years this year while Ellis ($1.5 million) will see his contract expire after the 2011-12 season. My guess is that the Lightning might be exasperated by Smith’s injury issues and inconsistency, so an Ellis-Roloson tandem would be my best bet.
If that’s true, then Smith might find himself on waivers and/or on the trading block going forward.
So much for Evgeni Nabokov
The Lightning’s struggling goalie duo (and cap space) justified the speculation that Nabokov might end up in Tampa Bay. Barring injuries or other unforeseen changes, that obviously won’t be a realistic rumor any longer. It seems like the Russian goalie will either need to root for injuries or goalie meltdowns if he thinks that he’ll play in the NHL anytime soon.
Ultimately, I think that this is a decent low-risk gamble by the Lightning. Roloson has playoff experience and an expiring deal, giving him motivation while Tampa Bay won’t have to deal with an albatross after the season. Meanwhile the New York Islanders save a little cash and get a little younger with Wyshart, who was a San Jose Sharks 2006 first round draft pick.