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The Tampa Bay Lightning has settled on goaltender Dan Ellis, and got a bargain

So much for Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman waiting around for the market to settle on the first day of free agency. The Lightning has agreed to terms with goaltender Dan Ellis; a two-year deal worth $1.5 million a season.

So let's keep count. Yzerman has traded defenseman Andrej Meszaros, signed wing Marty St. Louis to a four-year extension and now has signed a goalie he wants to compete with Mike Smith for the No. 1 job. All that in two and a half hours.

There's no confirmation of the Ellis deal from the team or the league, though signing the contract is believed a formality. But the 30-year-old would have a chance to grow with the organization. By signing a two-year deal, he will either be a bridge to a time when some of the Lightning's prospects -- such as Dustin Tokarski or Jaroslav Janus -- are ready, or he can prove he can take the job farther.

At the very least he will battle Mike Smith for the No. 1 job. That should be a friendly competition as the pair were teammates for AHL Iowa in 2005 -06

Ellis, 30, likely will be motivated after being pushed out of Nashville by the emergence of Pekka Rinne. And Yzerman likes the idea of pushing Smith to be better. That Yzerman got Ellis for such a bargain price is a bonus.

[Last modified: Saturday, July 31, 2010 12:15am]

    

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