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The Mike Smith era ends as the Tampa Bay Lightning signs Mathieu Garon as backup goalie

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed free agent goalie Mathieu Garon to a two-year, $2.6 million contract to be Dwayne Roloson's backup. The contract pays $1.3 million a year.

Garon, 33, was 10-14-6 in 36 games with the Blue Jackets last season with three shutouts, a 2.72 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage. He also is familiar with Roloson, having played with him with the Oilers from 2007-09.

Entering free agency, Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman wanted to keep Mike Smith, who had played so well in the second half of last season. But Smith would have had to take a substantial pay cut from last season's $2.4 million salary. He also likely wanted to find a starting job somewhere.

But Garon, 6 feet 1, 206 pounds, is a good signing. He has a track record and played 35 and 36 games the past two seasons, respectively. That means the Lightning has two goaltenders it can feel comfortable with, and that means Roloson will not have to be used as extensively as he was last season when he clearly was fatigued during the Eastern Conference final with the Bruins. 

[Last modified: Sunday, July 31, 2011 12:15am]


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