Matthew Barnaby got his wish. The former disgruntled Buffalo Sabres became a former disgruntled Pittsburgh Penguin on Thursday when Team Mario sent him to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for ex-Sabre Wayne Primeau.
Barnaby, who joined the Bolts in time for Thursday night's game against Buffalo, went from from a legitimate Stanley Cup contender to a franchise that has no shot of making the playoffs. On the plus side, his demands for more ice time figure to be granted by the Lightning, which had lost 10 of its last 11 before Thursday night's 4-2 victory over the Sabres.
Primeau again failed to realize expectations with the Lightning, his second NHL team. Although an assistant captain, he had just two goals and 15 points in 47 games while compiling a minus-17 rating, second-lowest on the team to Cory Sarich's minus-19. The fact he is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds interests the Penguins, who have been on a muscle-seeking mission since Mario Lemieux unretired.
The Sabres sent Barnaby, 27, to the Penguins on March 11, 1999, in exchange for Stu Barnes. On March 10 of last year, they sent Primeau, Brian Holzinger, Sarich and a third-round pick in the 2000 draft for Chris Gratton and a second-round pick in the upcoming draft.
"We like Wayne Primeau a great deal, but we feel that Matthew Barnaby brings something to the table we don't have and need badly," said former Sabre player and coach Rick Dudley, the Lightning's senior vice president and general manager. "We think Matthew can contribute in a lot of areas including leadership and toughness, and he's shown in the past he can contribute offensively as well."
The Lightning tapped another Buffalo connection Wednesday, signing free-agent defenseman and Clarence resident Grant Ledyard to a contract. Earlier this week the Lightning brought in former Sabre player and coach Craig Ramsay as an assistant to coach John Tortorella, a former Sabre assistant.
Rookie defenseman Dmitri Kalinin was scratched from the lineup Thursday night for the first time this season. His turnover set up the Florida's fourth goal in Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Panthers. James Patrick played in place of the 20-year-old Kalinin. Curtis Brown sat out again because of back spasms. . . . The Sabres allowed nine goals on the Florida trip, matching their season-high for back-to-back games. . . . Buffalo scored four goals or more eight times in the first 23 games. The Sabres have done it three times in the last 28. . . . Doug Gilmour's goal-less streak is over, but others march on. J.P. Dumont is up to 18 games without one. Vaclav Varada is at 16, Miroslav Satan at seven . . . Gilmour logged 21:01 of ice time, his most extensive duty since Nov. 15. His goal was No. 3 of the season and No. 425 of his career. . . . Dumont left the Sunshine State battered and bruised. He was felled by a cross-check to the face against Florida and by a check from behind against the Lightning. Ruff said the team will ask the league to review the cross-check by Panthers defenseman Lance Ward, which went unpenalized but set off a melee.