|Panthers trade Gratton to Lightning, give Allen 5-year deal|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 13 June 2007 15:00|
That deal was announced a few hours after the Panthers re-signed defenseman Bryan Allen to a five-year contract worth nearly $15 million.
The Panthers have the option of choosing which year they will take the pick acquired in the deal for Gratton, who had 13 goals and 22 assists this season for Florida.
Gratton was Tampa Bay's first-round pick - No. 3 overall - in the 1993 draft and scored 88 goals in parts of six seasons with the Lightning, where he also served as team captain in the 1999-2000 season.
``Chris Gratton is the ideal third-line center for our hockey team,'' Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. ``He has great size and strength, he is very good on face-offs, he has excellent grit and is willing both to take care of himself and defend his teammates, he is fearless when standing in front of the net on the power play and he has developed over time into a solid penalty killer as well.''
Allen was a restricted free agent this offseason. He played in all 82 games for the Panthers this past season and finished with four goals and a career-high 21 assists.
``The signing of Allen marks another significant step in our plan to bring continued stability and success to the Panthers,'' Florida coach and general manager Jacques Martin said.
Allen came to Florida in the trade that sent goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Vancouver Canucks last year.