Chris Gratton is back...?!?
That's right, Lightning fans, Jay Feaster went out and brought back Chris Gratton to the Lightning for -- and get this -- a second round draft pick in 2007 or 2008.
I'm sorry, Jay, but what the bloody hell...?!
"Chris Gratton is the ideal third-line center for our hockey team," Feaster said. "He has great size and strength, he is very good on face-offs, he has excellent grit and is willing both to take care of himself and defend his teammates, he is fearless when standing in front of the net on the power play and he has developed over time into a solid penalty killer as well. We believe Chris brings to our club a host of elements that we need in order to have the depth necessary to continue to be a top caliber team.
"We have been pursuing Chris for some time now, and I honestly thought we were going to be able to get a deal done to acquire him at the trade deadline this past season. While that did not happen, we never lost our interest in adding Chris as an ideal complement to Vinny and Richy as a big, strong, multi-faceted third-line center who shares our organizational commitment to winning. They say in life that 'the third time is the charm' and we truly believe that his third time in a Lightning uniform is going to be a great one for Chris and our team, and we welcome him back to the Lightning family."
*Emphasis added by me.
OK, so that's what the bloody hell. Like the Jason Ward trade -- it looks like this is a preparatory move for life without a Lightning veteran. In Ward's case, it was life without Rob Dimaio. In Gratton's case -- it's life without Tim Taylor who's hip will be operated on later this off season and is out until at least February 2008.
But for a second rounder?
The Lightning system is already thin on offense, and losing a high pick either this year ror next year hurts. If the pick is this year -- it doubly hurts as the Lightning already parted ways with there #1 in trading for Shane O'Brien.
It's an upgrade over Taylor but I'm not jumping up and down. I do credit the re-acquisition of CHris Gratton from the Flyers as what got my interest back int eh Lightning after the dark days of Phil Esposito's last years on the job. I'm also not angry over the decision to make this trade but I do question what it took to pull this off.
Speaking of transactions, Nick "Nasty" Tarnasky (and yes, Marsha, I blew his nickname ;) ) is back in the fold after a 3 year deal was re-signed along with Kyle Wavnig. The Lined Up Update will be amended to reflect all moves the last 72 hours...