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Tampa Bay Lightning trades Jussi Jokinen to Carolina Hurricanes for two players, draft pick

TAMPA — For GM Brian Lawton, the bottom line of Saturday's trade with the Hurricanes is the bottom line.

Tampa Bay gained salary relief by shipping F Jussi Jokinen and what it has left to pay on his $1.875 million contract to Carolina for D Josef Melichar ($1 million) and LW Wade Brookbank ($475,000).

Lawton said Melichar today will join AHL Norfolk. Brookbank will join the Lightning, though his ultimate destination is to be determined. Tampa Bay also got a 2009 fourth-round draft pick.

Carolina could have had Jokinen for free Wednesday, when he was put on waivers, but obviously wanted to somewhat balance the salary intake.

"It speaks to the new NHL," Lawton said. "It's not an indictment or a reflection in regards to any of the players that moved. It's just a reflection of what the new NHL is and the (collective bargaining agreement), how it's changed."

The trade is full of underachievers.

Jokinen, 25, acquired last February from the Stars as part of the Brad Richards deal, has six goals but zero in his past 30 games.

Melichar, 30, has played most of the season with AHL Albany, with which the 6-foot-2, 222-pounder had a goal and five points in 25 games. Brookbank, 31, is a 6-4, 225-pound physical presence with 345 penalty minutes in 127 NHL games.

Neither fit with new Carolina coach Paul Maurice. Melichar was sent to Albany shortly after Maurice was hired Dec. 3. Brookbank stayed with the Hurricanes but has not played since Dec. 26.

"Wade will give us depth and, obviously, toughness," Lawton said. "Josef, we'd like to watch a little bit. He hasn't proved he can be effective at the NHL level, but sometimes a change of scenery … he's a guy who could be up here."

Melichar would first have to go through re-entry waivers. He and Brookbank are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

CHANGE OF PLAN: Since the Lightning announced its conditioning program for Steve Stamkos, the rookie has played three games for every one he has been scratched. But Stamkos, who turned 19 Saturday, played his fourth straight game, had an assist and was 4-for-4 on faceoffs.

"In a couple more days here, he'll get back on his program," coach Rick Tocchet said before the game. "I thought the last game he had some speed. We need some speed (against the Islanders). It hasn't interrupted what we're trying to do off the ice with him."

STREAK OVER: D Andrej Mes­zaros' streak of 298 games since beginning his NHL career in 2005-06 with the Senators ended as he sat out with an injury to his upper left arm sustained Wednesday against the Penguins.

FIGHT OVER: LW David Koci challenged New York's Tim Jackman to fight at the opening faceoff. But Jackman, who on Tuesday fought Vinny Lecavalier after dumping G Karri Ramo, skated away. D Matt Smaby engaged Jackman. But Smaby slipped and went down quickly, ending the hostilities.

ODDS AND ENDS: G Mike McKenna's shutout in his second start was the quickest of any Lightning goalie. Pat Jablonski did it in his third. … With Meszaros out, Koci took a few turns on defense. … Tampa Bay outhit an opponent for the eighth straight game. … F Adam Hall was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning trades Jussi Jokinen to Carolina Hurricanes for two players, draft pick 02/07/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 8, 2009 7:21am]
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