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by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning


The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired veteran goaltender Marc Denis from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for left wing Fredrik Modin and goaltender Fredrik Norrena, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced today. Denis, 28, has spent the past seven years in the NHL, six with Columbus, and has posted a record of 94-156-28 with a goals-against average of 2.97 and a save percentage of .906. Denis was 17-6-1 in 2005-06 and 77-34-12 in his Blue Jackets career when the team scored three goals or more.

"Marc Denis is a solid, steady, durable, proven No. 1 goaltender in the NHL," Feaster said. "He is a workhorse and a fierce competitor with one of the best glove hands in the league. He is also a young man who has not yet reached the prime of his career. We have scouted Marc extensively and had actually targeted him as early as the trade deadline this past season. Our belief in his skills and his ability to fit in well within our locker room has never wavered. We are confident Marc will bring us the type of reliable and consistent goaltending we need in order to return our franchise to the type of success we have enjoyed in the past.

"The most difficult part of this deal is having to include Fredrik Modin, a player who helped this franchise establish credibility and then helped us become Stanley Cup Champions. As I have said repeatedly, in the 'perfect world' we would have kept our 2004 championship team together for a long time. However, in the new world of the salary cap, it simply is not possible. As thrilled as we are to be adding Marc Denis to our organization it is very tough to part with 'Big Mo.' "

Denis, a 6-foot-1, 193-pound native of Montreal, was selected in the first round, 25th overall, by Colorado at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He played three standout seasons with Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and was named the Canadian Major Goaltender of the Year, a Canadian Major Junior First-Team All-Star and a QMJHL First-Team All-Star in 1997 after leading Chicoutimi to a Memorial Cup berth with a 22-15-2 record and 2.69 goals-against average.

Denis made his NHL debut by playing one game for Colorado during the 1996-97 season, and he joined Hershey of the American Hockey League for the playoffs that year and helped the Bears capture the Calder Cup while appearing in four games. He became a regular for Hershey the following season, and in two seasons with the Bears (1997-98, 1998-99) he posted a 37-46-9 record and 2.86 goals-against average and won the top goaltender award at the 1999 AHL All-Star Classic.

After one season as a backup in Colorado, Denis was acquired by Columbus in 2000 and he improved his goals-against average in each of his first four seasons. In 2002-03 he posted a career-best 27 wins for a team that won 29 games total, and in 2003-04 he posted a career-best 2.56 goals-against average as the Blue Jackets won 25 games.

Denis, who established what was then an NHL record with 4,511 minutes played in 2002-03, has excelled in penalty shot and shootout situations in his career. He has stopped seven of eight career penalty shots faced, and in 2005-06 he was 3-1 in shootouts, stopping 14 of 18 shots against.

At the 2006 World Championships in Latvia, Denis posted an undefeated 4-0-1 record with a goals-against average of 2.51 and a save percentage of .911 for Canada. In his International career, Denis is 11-0-3 in 15 games for his homeland, having also helped Canada to the Gold Medal at the 1996 and 1997 World Junior Championships. After posting a 5-0-2 record and 1.86 goals-against average at the 1997 tournament, he was named the top goaltender in the tournament.
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