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Climie, Ellis find new hockey homes

Monday, July 5th
Climie, Ellis find new hockey homes

A pair of former Idaho Steelheads goaltenders found new homes during the early stages of the NHL free agency period as Dan Ellis signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Matt Climie signed with the Phoenix Coyote organization. Ellis, 30, was looking for a place where he could earn a starting position after spending the last three seasons with the Nashville Predators. He played 111 games with the Preds, going 50-42-8 with ten shutouts and a .912 save percentage. Ellis was a member of the 2004 Kelly Cup championship team in Idaho, earning Kelly Cup Playoffs MVP honors after helping the Steelheads run past the Florida Everblades to hoist the team?s first-ever championship trophy. In Tampa, he?ll be teamed with Mike Smith in net. He?ll also be reunited with former Steelhead Zenon Konopka, another member of Idaho?s 2004 title team. As for Climie, the move to the Coyote organization gives him an opportunity to play for a spot in the NHL. Illya Brizgalov and Jason Labarbera are penciled in for the top two spots in Phoenix, meaning Climie will likely begin the season with San Antonio of the American Hockey League. However, both Brizgalov and Labarbera are in the final year of their respective contracts, meaning a job could open up with Phoenix next season. Climie also cited Phoenix?s head coach ? Dave Tippett, the former Dallas Stars head coach ? as a reason he chose the Coyotes. The 27-year-old Climie played in Idaho in 2008-2009, posting a 27-12-1 record with a .915 save percentage. He made the rare jump from the ECHL to the NHL when the Stars recalled him from Idaho at the end of the regular season for three starts. He has four starts in the NHL under his belt, going 2-2 in those four appearances.

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