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Lukowich signs two-year deal with Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders signed defenseman
Brad Lukowich away from the Stanley Cup champion
Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

Lukowich, who finished tied for seventh in the NHL with a
plus-29 rating in the 2003-04 season, signed a two-year deal with
the Islanders.

"In so many ways, Brad was what we were looking for to fill out
our defense," general manager Mike Milbury said. "He's reliable
and plays with a lot of passion. He's got tons of character. He
also has two Stanley Cup rings and really wanted to be an Islander.
There's nothing not to like."

Lukowich, who also won a title in 1999 with the Dallas Stars,
was selected by the Islanders in the fourth round of the 1994
draft.

"It's still sinking in," Lukowich said. "I feel like I'm a
pretty lucky guy. The Islanders are the team I've always wanted to
play for since I saw [Billy Smith] and the rest of the legends beat
the Flames in Calgary when I was a kid. I was proud to be drafted
by them and -- although it took a while -- even prouder that I'm
finally here."

He had five goals and 19 points in 79 regular-season games with
the Lightning before the lockout. Lukowich also had two assists in
18 playoff games during Tampa Bay's run to the championship.

He joins recent additions Alexei Zhitnik and Brent Sopel on the
Islanders' blue line.

"I've had the chance to be part of two great teams in Dallas
and last year in Tampa Bay and those are experiences I can take
with me to Long Island," Lukowich said. "I look at the Islanders
the way I saw our team in Tampa Bay -- as a team on the verge of
something great.

"I feel I'm a good fit for Coach [Steve] Stirling because the
guys like Zhitnik, Sopel and [Janne] Niinimaa can really move the
puck."

In 373 NHL games, Lukowich has 15 goals, 63 points and a plus-47
rating.