TAMPA — When veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson found out late Saturday night that he was traded from the Islanders to the first-place Lightning, he was pumped for another chance at the playoffs.
But Roloson, 41, wasn't even the happiest person in his household.
"My oldest son, Brett (10), is a big Marty St. Louis fan," Roloson said. "I think he was even more excited than I was."
In acquiring Roloson for minor-league defenseman Ty Wishart, the Lightning hopes it solidifies its goaltending and gives itself a chance to make the postseason for the first time since 2006-07. Roloson, a 2004 All-Star who has played in 33 playoff games, hopes for another crack at his first Stanley Cup.
Roloson led the Oilers to the 2006 Cup final but hurt his right knee in Game 1 of a series they lost in seven to the Hurricanes. He also backed up Dominik Hasek with the Sabres when they lost in six to the Stars in the 1999 final.
"It's a little unfinished business," Roloson said. "Hopefully, the third time is the charm."
While Dan Ellis has played better recently, as did Mike Smith before hurting his left knee two weeks ago, the duo ranked near the bottom of the league in save percentage and goals-against average in the season's first half. Rookie Cedrick Desjardins won his first two starts last week but was sent to AHL Norfolk on Sunday as general manager Steve Yzerman said the Lightning doesn't want to rush the 25-year-old, who he believes is part of its future.
The present, however, belongs to Roloson, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $3 million. Yzerman said he has monitored Roloson for a while and the Simcoe, Ontario, native has performed well despite playing with the Islanders, who have the second-fewest points in the league. He's 6-13-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .916 save percentage, including stopping 34 of 35 shots in a 2-1 overtime win over the Lightning on Dec. 22.
"Roloson has been playing outstanding this year," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "Sometimes, opportunities pass by and you don't want to miss them."
For Roloson, on his sixth team in 13 seasons, the admiration is mutual. He said the Lightning is a dynamic team that blends grit and speed, and he's looking forward to playing with — and not facing — the likes of St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vinny Lecavalier.
Roloson, who is scheduled to join the team at practice today, said he's a very competitive guy who is "never satisfied."
"You never take a day off," he said. "You always have somebody behind you trying to take your job."
In the Lightning's situation, there will be more. Yzerman said the team will carry three goalies even when Smith is ready to return in a week or so. Boucher will determine who starts.
Roloson, who has been in a three-goalie situation before, said he's fine with it, noting it's an "adjustment" but everyone comes together to help the team win.
"At the end of the day," Roloson said, "that's the most important thing."
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.