Denis moved to Tampa Bay for ModinJune 30, 2006
Early Friday afternoon, the Columbus Blue Jackets moved goaltender Marc Denis to the Tampa Bay Lightning for winger Fredrik Modin and international goaltender Fredrik Norrena. I happened to see this first on Spector’s Trade Rumors.
The trade clears the picture up for the 2006-07 Blue Jackets. It appears to me that Pascal Leclaire is the #1, and that the top two lines are fairly set at this point. Modin should fit in well with Fedorov and Zherdev on the second line. Michael over at Army of the Ohio wonders if Gallant will put Modin on the first line with Nash (and most likely Brule) because he has somewhat more experience and better production than Vyborny. I don’t think this is likely to happen, mostly because of the chemistry that exists between Vyborny and Nash. This is not to say that there couldn’t be good karma between Nash and Modin, but I think that going into training camp we’ll see Modin on the second line.
Fredrik Norrena is a goalie with no NHL experience, but plenty of international time. Where Norrena fits will depend on how MacLean and Gallant wish to use Leclaire. If, as I suspect, Leclaire is now the uncontested #1 netminder I think Norrena will see 15-20 games as his backup. But if management is not 100% sold on Leclaire as the current full-time guy, I see the Jackets going after one of the many goalies on the free agent market and running a 50-50 split for time (Norrena in Syracuse). The first option is most attractive to me for three reasons. First, I happen to think Leclaire is capable of handling the load. Second, not a one of the potential goalie pick-ups is going to want to play only 41 games. Lastly, why take on $1.5-3 million in salary for a “name” goalie for half your games? I’m guessing that was part of the reason we shipped Denis, so the organization could give Leclaire a raise and bring in a serviceable backup.
I wish Marc Denis the best in Tampa Bay, and I think he has a great opportunity to experience regular season and playoff success. Marc was a class-act from Day One in Columbus, and I expect that Lightning fans will find more of the same in the future. We’re now down to two original Blue Jackets (Vyborny and Klesla), and I’ll be the first to say I’m not too sentimental about that fact. There were only a few pieces from that original squad that I was sad to see go. While Denis was one of them, it seems at this point that the organization is moving in the right direction.