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Tampa Bay Lightning clears more salary cap room with demotion of wing Jason Ward

PHILADELPHIA — Lightning general manager Brian Lawton said another trade is not imminent despite clearing nearly $3-million in salary cap space.

Saturday's move, demoting W Jason Ward and his $675,000 cap hit to AHL Norfolk, came a day after trading D Matt Carle to the Flyers in a deal that removed $2.238-million.

"Nothing imminent right now," Lawton said. "Just working away, and we'll continue to see what we've got."

What the Lightning has are 14 forwards and C Jeff Halpern (knee) working toward a mid- to late December return. That would indicate more moves to come, and Tampa Bay certainly would listen to offers for goal-less RW Radim Vrbata.

Whether another trade is imminent or not, the deflated cap number — to a little less than $52-million, almost $5-million below the $56.7-million limit — gives the team flexibility, or as Lawton called it, "breathing room."

Melrose yearns for stability: Steve Eminger, acquired in the Carle deal, was the 11th defenseman to play in Tampa Bay's 13 games Saturday against the Flyers.

"It's not ideal," coach Barry Melrose said. "Hopefully, that will end pretty quick and we get a lineup we really like."

WARD'S CHANCE: Ward, who played one game, said he did not believe he had a chance to show what he can do.

"It's frustrating," he said. "At least I get a chance to play in the minors. I feel confident in my game. Hopefully, somebody notices me there and I get an opportunity somewhere."

ARTYUKHIN OUT: RW Evgeny Artyukhin sat Saturday because of an apparent groin injury. Joking about the league not requiring injury disclosures, Melrose said, "If I was an NHL guy, I would say it's below his neck and above his ankles. That gets me off the hook."

Melrose said the lingering injury worsened Thursday against the Rangers. Ryan Craig, a healthy scratch against New York, was in the lineup.

CARLE MOVING ON: Satisfied with the opportunity he had with Tampa Bay, Carle said, "I'm moving forward."

Added Carle, who averaged 21:57 of ice time: "I thought I got to contribute the way I should have, and Brian Lawton reiterated to me it was nothing I did."

As for playing his first game against his former team, Carle said, "It will make a good story in the long run, to look back on my career and say I was involved in a trade like that."

ODDS AND ENDS: Eminger played 14 minutes, was plus-1 and had two hits. … Flyers LW Josh Gratton is a cousin of Lightning C Chris Gratton. It was the second time they've played each other. … W Matt Pettinger was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning clears more salary cap room with demotion of wing Jason Ward 11/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 10, 2008 1:27pm]
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