TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Marc Denis to a three-year, $8.6 million contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced today. Denis, 28, was acquired in a trade with Columbus on June 30. The a 6-foot-1, 193-pound native of Montreal spent the past seven years in the NHL with Colorado and Columbus, posting a record of 94-156-28 with a goals-against average of 2.97 and a save percentage of .906.
"When we traded for Marc it was our plan to attempt to negotiate a long-term deal while recognizing that if we were unsuccessful he would be eligible for unrestricted free agency after the upcoming season," Feaster said. "From our first conversation, Marc told us that he shared our interest in a long-term deal, and being able to have him signed and in the fold for at least the next three seasons is a very significant accomplishment for our organization. We look forward to a very long and mutually rewarding relationship with Marc."
Denis was selected in the first round, 25th overall, by Colorado at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He 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 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 was 4-1-0 with a goals-against average of 2.51 and a save percentage of .911 for Canada. Denis 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.