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.