Ellis Sent to Anaheim for McElhinney; Smith on Re-entry Waivers

The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired goaltender Curtis McElhinney from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for goaltender Dan Ellis today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

McElhinney, 6-foot-2, 197 pounds, has played in 21 games with the Ducks this season, posting a 6-9-1 record with a 3.43 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage. He also has two shutouts. McElhinney has set career-highs this season for games played and wins. He recorded his first career shutout on November 10 against the New York Islanders.

A native of Calgary, Alberta, McElhinney has played in 60 career NHL games with the Ducks and Calgary Flames, notching a 15-22-4 record with a 3.21 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage. He has also appeared in 131 American Hockey League games, posting a 64-49-5 record with 13 shutouts and a 2.27 goals-against average.

McElhinney, selected by Calgary in the sixth round, 176th overall, of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, played four seasons at Colorado College of the WCHA before turning pro. With the Tigers he registered a 62-16-8 record with a 2.32 goals-against average in 91 games.

BP Notes: What this means...

The Lightning clear $1.5 million off the books next year as Ellis had one more year on his contract and McElhinney, who makes just under a million less than Ellis, is an unrestricted free agent at season's end. Looking ahead, the Lightning have three goaltenders with NHL experience set to be unrestricted free agents at season's end: Roloson, McElhinney, and Mike Smith. The money saved could help bring in a No.1 such as Bryzgalov, or simply Roloson thinks he can tough out one more year, he is re-signed, and is partnered with Cedrick Desjardins. Tokarski and Janus then play in Norfolk.

The money clearance also helps with Stamkos' new contract coming up and - not to get anyone's hopes up - a possible addition to the club like former Lightning hero Brad Richards, who has been rumored to be interested in returning to Tampa Bay as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Update: Mike Smith is on re-entry waivers, per TSN's Bob McKenzie.