Tampa Bay Lightning trades forward Evgeny Artyukhin to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Drew Miller and 2010 draft pick

Energetic Evgeny Artyukhin, left, fighting Montreal’s Tom Kostopoulos last season, led Tampa Bay with 151 penalty minutes in 73 games. Fans loved him, but he was said to lack a “hockey IQ.”

Times

Energetic Evgeny Artyukhin, left, fighting Montreal’s Tom Kostopoulos last season, led Tampa Bay with 151 penalty minutes in 73 games. Fans loved him, but he was said to lack a “hockey IQ.”

Drew Miller is responsible defensively, can kill penalties and chip in here and there on offense.

He also is a relative bargain, with one year and $525,000 left on a two-year deal, and he is on a two-way contract that pays less if he plays in the minors.

For all those reasons, the Lightning on Thursday acquired the left wing and a 2010 third-round daft pick from the Ducks for Evgeny Artyukhin.

"He'll be one of a number of guys vying for spots," Tampa Bay general manager Brian Lawton said of Miller, adding, "It just gives us a little more flexibility for things."

Especially when it comes to payroll. Miller, 25, brother of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, will make $475,000 less than Artyu­khin. And if he starts in the minors (he needs waivers to go down), the NHL payroll and cap savings would be $1 million. That could go a long way to help acquire through free agency a scoring wing such as Alex Tanguay.

"Everything we do has an intended purpose and effect," Lawton said. "We have to see what happens."

Miller, 6 feet 2, 185 pounds, had four goals, 10 points and 17 penalty minutes in 27 games last season for Anaheim, including four goals and eight points in his last 18 games.

Artyukhin, 6-5, 260, a fan favorite because of his speed and explosive body checks, had six goals, 16 points and a team-high 151 penalty minutes in 73 games. But coach Rick Tocchet spoke often of Artyukhin's lack of a "hockey IQ" that contributed to defensive mistakes and bad penalties.

"He's taking it as a professional," Artyukhin's agent, Mark Gandler, said of the trade. "He thinks of it as a new start, and he's excited."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Lightning trades forward Evgeny Artyukhin to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Drew Miller and 2010 draft pick 08/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 14, 2009 12:29am]

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