Wing Exchange -- Tampa Bay trades Artoo to Anaheim for Drew Miller

If you're scoring at home, another fan favorite has been shipped elsewhere. 

Russian beheamoth Evgeny Artyukhin (and his pain-in-the-ass agent, Mark Gandler) was traded to the Anaheim Ducks this afternoon by the Lightning in exchange for LW Drew Miller and a 2010 3rd round draft pick.

Artyukhin, aka Artoo, made a strong first impression with the Lightning his rookie season in 2005-06.  The right wing had 17 points in 72 games and no fear of throwing his large frame around.  The problem was, after that initial season, Gandler decided to play hard-ball on behalf of his client and attempted to get Artyukhin something above the salary structure that then-GM Jay Feaster was employing with fellow-rookies Ryan Craig and Paul Ranger.  Artyukhin did not sign and played two seasons in Russia before returning to the Bolts last season.

Drew Miller, the wing acquired by the Bolts in this deal, has played a total of 53 NHL games, scoring 6 goals and 9 assists for 15 points.  Miller, brother of Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, played college hockey for Michigan State and served as tea3 captain.  He saw first-line playing time during the Western Conference finals against the Detroit Red Wings.  During the playoffs he had 2 goals and an assist. 

This deal, while it may hurt the fans, looks to be both an attempt to add a potential scoring wing on the cheap as well as shed salary.  Miller is due to make $525,000 this season while Artyukhin was on the books for a cool million.  And while this does bring another left wing into the system, it thins team depth on the opposite side.  One has to wonder if this is a move in preparation for another, or simply the solid exchange it appears to be?

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