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Evgeny Artyukhin sent to Ducks as Tampa Bay Lightning acquires Drew Miller and a third-round draft pick (updated)



The Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday picked up left wing Drew Miller and a third-round pick in next year's draft in exchange for wing Evgeny Artyukhin.

Miller, 25, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound left wing is the brother of Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. He had four goals, six assists and 17 penalty minutes in 27 games last season, including four goals and four assists in his last 18 games. He is considered a hard worker and a defensively responsible player. The word out of Anaheim is he never got the chance he deserved.

Figure him a third- or fourth-line player if he sticks with the team. More immediate for the Lightning is that Miller gives them even more payroll flexibility. Artyukhin is scheduled to make $1 million next season. Miller is scheduled to make $525,000. Better yet for Tampa Bay, Miller is on a two-way contract, which means that the team has one less player on a one-way deal to complicate putting together the final roster. It also means if Miller starts the season in the minors, the deal will save $1 million off its payroll and salary cap.

Miller would have to clear waivers to get to the minors, but because his minor-league salary would be $105,000, he would not need waivers to come back up. The $105,000 is the limit of what a player can make in the minors and not require re-entry waivers.

Getting rid of Artyukhin, 26, will be a disappointment for Lightning fans who loved his free-wheeling style and his crunching body checks that rattled teeth as well as the boards. But Artyukhin, a 6-foot-5, 254-pounder, was not considered asmart hockey player. Coach Rick Tocchet said several times at the end of last season that one of Artyukhin's goals this summer was to get hockey smart. In other words, he had to better learn how to play the game. 

This is what I will always remember about Artyukhin: a great end-to-end rush down right wing only to watch the puck dribble off his stick as he tried to make a move as he approached the net. That is not to say Artyukhin does not have tons of potential. But given his salary and the number of mistakes he made last season, and the constraints on payroll for the financially troubled Lightning, the move should not be a complete surprise. 

Here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning has acquired left wing Drew Miller and a third-round draft choice in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for right wing Evgeny Artyukhin today, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.

"In acquiring Drew Miller today, we were able to add a character individual, a versatile player with good size and the ability to kill penalties," said Lawton upon making the announcement. "Drew finished the season nicely in Anaheim a year ago and he has played well for the Ducks in the postseason over his career. We'd like to thank Evgeny for his hard work in Tampa Bay and his diligence to improve as a player. We wish him all the best moving forward."

Miller, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, has played in 53 NHL games in his career, all with the Ducks.   He has recorded six goals and 15 points in those games.   Miller made his NHL regular season debut on October 6, 2007 and netted his first NHL goal on October 17, 2007.   He has played in 16 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with Anaheim, recording two goals and three points.   He made his playoff debut in the 2007 NHL Playoffs, including Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals against Ottawa as Anaheim went on to win the Stanley Cup.

A native of Dover, New Jersey, Miller played in 27 games with the Ducks in 2008-09, recording four goals and 10 points.   He appeared in a career high 13 playoff games, recording two goals and three points.   He also spent 53 games with the Iowa Chops of the American Hockey League, recording 23 goals and 38 points.   He was tied for the team lead in goals and was fourth in points.

Miller has played in 163 career AHL games with Iowa and the Portland Pirates, recording 55 goals and 110 points.   In 2007-08 he helped Portland to the Eastern Conference Finals by registering a goal and eight points in 16 games.   Miller made his professional hockey debut with the Pirates in 2006-07, finishing tied for first on the team in rookie scoring and tied for third in overall scoring.

The 25-year-old played his college hockey at Michigan State University, where he was the 10th member of his family to play for the Spartans, including brother Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres.   He amassed 39 goals and 86 points in 125 career games with the Spartans.   Miller served as team captain during his junior year while leading the club in scoring with 18 goals and 43 points.   He was also named Michigan State’s Most Valuable Player and was honored as the CCHA’s Best Defensive Forward.   He was recognized as the CCHA’s 2006 Illitch Humanitarian Award winner and was nominated for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2005 and 2006.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:39pm]


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