Hockey

Chris Gratton traded back to Lightning

The Tampa Bay reacquired forward Chris Gratton from the Florida Panthers for a second-round draft pick on Wednesday.

Lightning strikes twice, right? Not for Chris Gratton.

Gratton, 31, was acquired Wednesday by the Tampa Bay Lightning for a third time.

The Lightning pried the veteran forward from the Florida Panthers for a second-round draft pick.

"They say in life that the third time is the charm," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster stated. "And we truly believe that his third time in a Lightning uniform is going to be a great one for Chris and our team."

Gratton posted 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 81 games last season, his second with Florida.

He also led the Panthers in faceoff percentage, winning 51.2 per cent.

"Chris brings … a host of elements that we need in order to have the depth necessary to continue to be a top-calibre team," Feaster said. "He has great size and strength, he is very good on faceoffs, he has excellent grit and is willing both to take care of himself and defend his teammates."

Gratton was drafted third overall in 1993 and spent four seasons with the Lightning before signing a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Aug. 14, 1997.

Gratton was traded back to Tampa Bay, along with Mike Sillinger, for Daymond Langkow and Mikael Renberg on Dec. 12, 1998, and later dealt to the Buffalo Sabres for Brian Holzinger, Wayne Primeau and Cory Sarich on March 9, 2000.

Gratton, from Brantford, Ont., has totalled 204 goals and 544 points in 1,008 games over 13 NHL seasons.

He also has played for the Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche.

With files from the Canadian Press