Lightning trades Jokinen to Canes (updated)
Well, we knew that since forward Jussi Jokinen had not been sent to the minors after clearing waivers, something was brewing. Now we know. Tampa Bay sent Jokinen to the Hurricanes for tough guy Wade Brookbank, defenseman Josef Melichar and a 2009 fourth-round draft pick.
No surprise Jokinen was traded. The 25-year-old, acquired in February from the Stars in the Brad Richards deal, had six goals, but none in 30 games, all under coach Rick Tocchet.
If nothing else, the Lightning got tougher with Brookbank, 31, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder, who always has been physical and a willing fighter. In 2004-05, he had 285 penalty minutes in 68 games for AHL Manitoba. He had 40 penalty minutes in 27 games this season with the Hurricanes. But Brookbank apparently did not fit in with Carolina coach Paul Maurice, has been a healthy scratch in every game but one under the new coach and hasn't played since Dec. 26.
Melichar, 30, also has a bit of a physical presence at 6-2, 222 pounds. He also has not fit in well in Carolina and has been playing for AHL Albany. In 15 games with the Hurricanes this season, he has four assists and eight penalty minutes while averaging 8:39 of ice time.
GM Brian Lawton said Melichar will report to AHL Norfolk on Sunday. Brookbank is flying from Arizona, where the Hurricanes are playing tonight, to pick up his stuff in Carolina, and will report to the Lightning on Sunday. But Lawton said the team is undecided about where Brookbank will play.
Lawton said the bottom line of the deal is the bottom line. The Lightning got rid of what was left to pay on a $1.875-million contract of a player that was not part of the team's plans, and picked up contracts worth $1.475-million. Melichar is on a one-year, $1-million deal. Brookbank's deal is for $475,000. Both are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
Still, you have to see value in the incoming players. Lawton said Brookbank provides depth and toughness. Melichar is someone "we'd like to watch a little bit. He hasn't proved he can be effective at the NHL level, but sometimes a chance of scene ... he's a guy who could be up here."
Melichar would have to go through re-entry waivers to join Tampa Bay.