The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired left wing Zdenek Blatny from the Boston Bruins in exchange for goaltender Brian Eklund, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced today. Blatny has been assigned to Springfield of the American Hockey League. Blatny, 25, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound native of Brno, Czech Republic, appeared in five games with the Bruins this season and skated in 35 games with Providence of the American Hockey League, ranking fifth on the team in scoring (8 goals, 30 points) and second in assists (22).
Selected 68th overall by Atlanta in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Blatny played three seasons in the Western Hockey League with Seattle and Kootenay, recording 102 goals and 209 points in 170 games. With Kootenay in 1999-00 he finished as the assist leader in the Canadian Hockey League playoffs with 17 in 21 games. At the time of his departure from Kootenay he was the franchise's all-time leader with 18 game-winning goals, 29 power-play goals and eight game-winning goals in the playoffs. He also led the Czech Republic to a Gold Medal at the 2001 World Junior Championships with seven points in seven games. Blatny made his NHL debut with Atlanta on January 19, 2004 against the Dallas Stars. He split his first professional season in 2001-02 between Chicago and Greenville (ECHL), scoring a goal in his pro debut for the Wolves. He scored game-winning goals for Chicago in Game 2 and Game 3 of the best-of-three Qualifying Round against Cincinnati to allow the Wolves to advance and eventually win the Calder Cup. He also helped Greenville capture the Kelly Cup that same season.
Eklund, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound native of Braintree, Massachusetts, made his first NHL appearance on Nov. 8, 2005 against the Montreal Canadiens. The graduate of Brown University was selected by Tampa Bay in the seventh round, 226th overall, at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the majority of the 2005-06 season with Springfield, where he recorded a 5-11-1 record with a 4.19 goals-against average.