SUNRISE FL - OCTOBER 1: Goaltender Dan Ellis #33 of the Tampa Bay Lightning warms up prior to the game against the Florida Panthers during a preseason game on October 1 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Dan Ellis Traded To Anaheim Ducks For Curtis McElhinney; Lightning Place Mike Smith On Re-Entry Waivers

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Goalie Mike Smith Placed On Re-Entry Waivers After Lightning Trade Dan Ellis

Just a short while after swapping Dan Ellis for Curtis McElhinney of the Anaheim Ducks, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed goalie Mike Smith on re-entry waivers. Smith had been with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League for the better part of February after clearing regular waivers early in the month.

It's unclear exactly why Smith is being called back through. It could be in hopes that another team claims him, and then but that doesn't seem all that likely. Steve Yzerman could also want Smith to come back to the NHL roster to fight out that backup job with McElhinney, or to put pressure on Dwayne Roloson for the starting job. Competition, you know?

That, or another move could be coming. The Lightning don't have any goaltenders locked up beyond the current season, despite having three on the NHL payroll, and it's possible that Yzerman is just freeing up his options by calling Smith back through waivers.

If claimed by another team, which we'll know by 12 p.m. Eastern on Friday, the Lightning will have to pay half of Smith's $2.2 million cap hit. The claiming team would pay the other half. 

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Dan Ellis Traded To Anaheim Ducks For Curtis McElhinney

In one of the more unexpected trades of the day, the Tampa Bay Lightning have traded goaltender Dan Ellis to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for goalie Curtis McElhinney. It's not often that you see straight-up goalie-for-goalie swaps in the NHL, but we've now seen two in just a week. 

Ellis signed with Tampa in the offseason, and after complaining on Twitter about his tough, tough life as a professional hockey player, he's really in for it now that he has to move across the country. He lost his starting gig earlier this season after Steve Yzerman traded for Dwayne Roloson, a move that's widely credited as the one that gives the Lightning a legitimate shot in the Eastern Conference this season.

The Ducks are in desperate need of some steady goaltending thanks to Jonas Hiller's current stint on the injured reserve, and while Ellis isn't necessarily the best option, he's certainly better than what McElhinney brought to the table.

The now-former Ducks goalie has allowed 26 goals in his last six games.

With Hiller out with fatigue issues, the Ducks called up Ray Emery from Syracuse of the AHL. He backed up McElhinney in Wednesday's loss to the Los Angeles Kings and could immediately find himself starting for a team in a tough playoff race.

This does almost seem like a favor between Yzerman and Ducks general manager Bob Murray, though, doesn't it? I doubt anybody thinks that the Lightning got the better end of the bargain here, no matter how hilarious a meme Ellis has become.

Perhaps McElhinney could use the change of pace and the return to a backup role in a less-hectic playoff race, but acquiring a guy who's in the middle of a stretch as bad as McElhinney's current one doesn't seem like the best of moves, does it?

Yzerman probably hopes that it's, at worst, a lateral move, and that McElhinney's status as an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season is enough to compensate for that. Ellis still has one year left on his contract. 

For more on the deal, check in with SB Nation's Lightning blog, Raw Charge, as well as our Ducks blog, Anaheim Calling

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