TAMPA — The Lightning acquired veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson from the Islanders on Saturday night, feeling it has improved its goaltending for a potential playoff push.
But it could have tough decisions down the road.
Roloson, 41, was acquired for Ty Wishart, a minor-league defenseman who was acquired in July 2008 from the Sharks as part of the Dan Boyle trade.
Rookie goalie Cedrick Desjardins, who was impressive in winning his first two NHL starts Thursday and Saturday, will be sent back down to AHL Norfolk.
Roloson and Dan Ellis will share playing time for now. Mike Smith remains on injured reserve with a minor left knee sprain.
When Smith is ready to return, in a week or so, general manager Steve Yzerman said the team will carry three goalies, with coach Guy Boucher deciding who plays, and "the best one is going to play."
"That will work itself out," he said.
Yzerman said the Lightning had been debating the move for a little while, and when the opportunity arose, the team jumped on it.
Roloson was 6-13-1 this season with the Islanders, who have the second-fewest points in the league, and had a 2.64 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He was an All-Star in 2004 and has played in 33 career playoff games.
"We're bringing in a veteran goalie who has played a lot of hockey and who has played playoff hockey and gone all the way to the Stanley Cup finals (with the Sabres in 1999)," Yzerman said. "An opportunity to make our team better came along, and we decided to act upon it. We feel we're stronger today after making the trade."
Though Smith played better in the two games before he got hurt and Ellis has played well recently, the two had battled inconsistency throughout most of the first half of the season.
"Either you make your decision for a lot of reasons, or things can change," Yzerman said. "You make the decision because the opportunity might not be there in a day, a week, or who knows?"
Joe Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.