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Tampa Bay Lightning Have an Active Day One Of Free Agency

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 13:  Martin St. Louis #26 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the New York Islanders on February 13, 2010 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Isles defeated the Lightning 5-4.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
JC De La TorreAnalyst IIIJuly 1, 2010

Mighty Mouse will still call Tampa Bay home. The Tampa Bay Lightning secured the heart and soul of their hockey team, Martin St. Louis, for another four years. The diminutive forward signed a four year contract extension worth a believed $22.5 million dollars.

The extension of 2010 Lady Byng Trophy winner capped an active first day of the free agency period for the Lightning's new general manager Steve Yzerman.

Yzerman also re-signed toughman Mitch Fritz, traded away maligned defenseman Andrej Meszaros for a bag of hockey pucks and a second round pick, then signed former Nashville goalie Dan Ellis to a very reasonable two year $1.5 million dollar contract.

The team is also believed to be sniffing around Carlo Colaiacovo, an offensive defenseman who played last season in St. Louis.

The Lightning did take some hits as well, losing defenseman Kurtis Foster to Edmonton (2 yrs, $3.6 million), goalie Antero Niittymaki to San Jose (2 yrs, $4 million) and Alex Tanguay to Calgary.

Ellis comes to Tampa Bay after being displaced by Pekka Rinne, he looks to challenge incumbent Mike Smith for the main man between the Tampa Bay pipes. Ellis, 30, played in 110 games with Nashville and started all six games of the 2008 playoffs.

His best season was in 2007-08 when he went 23-10-3 with a 2.34 goals against average while leading the league with a .924 save percentage

Ellis has a career record of 50-42-10 with a 2.64 goals against average and .912 save percentage.

Ellis and Smith came up through the Dallas Stars farm system and the Lightning's number one goalie is happy to welcome his former teammate into the fold.

"We really hit it off and got to know each other," Smith told the St. Pete Times, "He's just a real good guy, real easy to get along with and a great teammate and a really good professional on the ice."

Fritz, who played in AHL Norfolk last season, signed a one year two way contract.

St. Petersburg Times Beat Writer Damien Cristodero reports that the Lightning are in the running for Colaiacovo, a former first round draft pick who's struggled with injuries throughout his career.

"Yes we have talked to them," his agent Todd Reynolds told the Times, "They have shown some interest. Where it will go I don't know."

If he can stay healthy, Colaiacovo has shown to be a capable puck moving offensive minded defenseman, scoring 10 goals and 61 points in the last two seasons with the Blues.

The Lightning may have competition for him though as Cristodero reports six other teams have an interest.

Tampa Bay did have an interest in defensemen Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek but both signed deals with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

 

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