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Lightning add defenseman Kurtis Foster, and could have a backup goalie by Thursday

The Tampa Bay Lightning continued to revamp its blue line with the addition Wednesday of free agent Kurtis Foster, formerly of the Wild. It is a one-year deal for about $600,000.

Foster is a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder with 186 career games with the Wild and Thrashers. Foster played just 10 games last season after recovering from a broken leg. He had a goal and six points, was plus-7 and averaged 13:35 of ice time.

You might recall Foster by his injury. It happened in March 2008 when he skated toward the end boards to touch a puck for an icing and was drilled from behind into the boards by San Jose rookie Torrey Mitchell.

"Big shot, big shot," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. "And he's a lot better defenseman than people give him credit for. ... He wants to re-establish himself. He has a carrot in front of him. It's nice to have players like that."

So that makes the blue line Foster, Victor Hedman, Mattias Ohlund, Matt Walker, Andrej Meszaros, Paul Ranger and Lukas Krajicek, and that leaves someone outside looking in, and it mostly likely would be Krajicek, whom Tampa Bay probably will try to move. It also means looking at Matt Smaby, who has filed for arbitration, as a depth player, along with Matt Lashoff and Mike Lundin, if they are signed.

As for a backup goaltender, GM Brian Lawton said he has an offer out to a player, but declined to say whom, understandable considering the player might say no.

One other piece of housekeeping. The Lightning apparently is narrowing its search for an assistant coach. It is believed the Lightning has gotten permission from the Stars to interview associate coach Rick Wilson, who believes in strong, disciplined defense and ran the defense during games.

Oh, and, by the way, Hedman said he will wear No. 77 next season because he idolized former NHL star Ray Bourque.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]

    

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