TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Lightning continued to reshape their roster right up to the NHL trade deadline, acquiring defensemen Mike Commodore, Keith Aulie and Brian Lee in separate deals on Monday.
Commodore was obtained from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2013. Aulie was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Carter Ashton. Lee was added in a deal that sent defenseman Matt Gilroy to the Ottawa Senators.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said the moves were made because the team wants to get younger on defense, even though Commodore is a veteran who’s played 471 games during an 11-year career.
“Defensemen are hard to find. We’re looking for young guys, and for guys whose contracts are appropriate,” said Yzerman, who’s spent past week making moves designed to give the Lightning flexibility for building for the future.
Aulie and Lee are players Yzerman feels can potentially help the Lightning for a long time.
“We’re obviously trying to find good players, and good players that don’t make a lot of money,”, the general manager said. “And that’s not an easy thing to do.”
Commodore, who appeared 17 games with the Red Wings this season, has also played for the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets. He was part of Carolina’s Stanley Cup championship team in 2006 and was with Calgary in 2004, when the Flames lost to Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Finals.
“We have some injuries on our blue line and we’re looking to do some other things. … I think he’ll help us out and provide us with some depth on our blue line,” Yzerman said.
Lee has five goals and 28 points in 167 career games. He made his NHL debut with the Senators during the 2007-08 season and was sixth among rookie defensemen with 13 points in 2008-09.
Aulie, meanwhile, is a 6-foot-6 defenseman who appeared in 17 games with the Maple Leafs this season. The 22-year-old has two career goals and four points in 57 NHL games over parts of two seasons.
“We’re going to have to get a Visa for him. That might take a couple of days, but our intention is to bring him in and put him in our lineup,” Yzerman said. “He’s a young guy, and he’s been up and down a bit in the American League. We would like to get him into our lineup and give him more NHL games and experience. From watching him, we think he’s close to being an NHL regular.”
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.