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Tampa Bay Lightning faces tough decisions after acquisition of G Dwayne Roloson

1

January

The Tampa Bay Lightning has some decisions to make now that it has acquired veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson from the Islanders for defensive prospect Ty Wishart. The expectation is that the team will send rookie goalie Cedrick Desjardins back to AHL Norfolk (he looked good in his two starts but this is the right move) , and until Mike Smith is recovered from his left-knee sprain, the tandem will be Roloson and Dan Ellis. But what happens when Smith is ready to return?

At its base, though, the acquisition of Roloson is a nod toward the fine season the Lightning is having and to the disappointment that has been the work of Smith and Ellis in net, despite that they had started to play better the past few weeks, though Ellis was at fault for the goal that lost Tuesday's game to the Bruins. General manager Steve Yzerman clearly believes this is a team that can do some damage in the playoffs, and he knows that regular-season success would be tough to duplicate in the playoffs without steady goaltending. And we know Tampa Bay's goaltending so far has been anything but.

The first word out of Yzerman is the team will keep three goalies on the roster after Smith's return and it will be up to coach Guy Boucher to determine who plays. It undoubtedly will be an uncomfortable situation until Yzerman figures out what he wants to do.

Otherwise, the Lightning is getting a proved commodity, who, despite a 6-13-1 record with New York, was the only reason the Islanders had any kind of season. Roloson, 41, has a 2.64 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. The Lightning's combined goals-against average entering Saturday was 3.08 and its save percentage of .885 was last in the league.

Roloson likely will be a rental for the rest of the season as he is in the final year of his contract that pays $3 million this season. Tampa Bay, obviously, will be responsible for only about half that.

As for Wishart, 22, he had four goals and 18 points in 31 games for Norfolk, and was acquired as part of the trade that sent Dan Boyle to the Sharks in July 2008.

Anyway, here is the announcement from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired goaltender Dwayne Roloson from the New York Islanders in exchange for defenseman Ty Wishart tonight, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

"In this trade we give up a promising, former first-round pick. We wish him luck in the Islanders organization," Yzerman said. "In Roloson we have acquired a proven, veteran goaltender who will provide stability in net."

Roloson, 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, has played in 20 games with the Islanders this season, posting a 6-13-1 record, a .916 save percentage and a 2.64 goals-against average. He leads all New York goaltenders each category as well as games played.

A native of Simcoe, Ontario, Roloson has played in 532 career NHL games, posting a career 2.66 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He was named to the 2004 NHL All-Star Game. Roloson has played in 33 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, posting an 18-12 record with a .915 save percentage and a 2.56 goals-against average.

Roloson was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Calgary Flames on July 4, 1994.

[Last modified: Monday, January 31, 2011 12:15am]

    

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