163824037Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Times has a speculative article this weekend about Marty St. Louis, and whether he would waive his no-trade clause and seek an exit from the Tampa Bay Lightning after what we all expect will be consecutive non-playoff seasons.
When St. Louis in July 2010 signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract extension, he did so with the notion the organization, under new ownership and management, would move in a positive direction. But after the team reached the Eastern Conference final in 2010-11, it was out of the playoffs in 2011-12 and appears this season it will fall short again.
St. Louis, 37, might look at a team clearly in transition — it is trying to develop Anders Lindback as a No. 1 goaltender and has eight players on its current roster who played last season or have played this season in the AHL — and wonder how much longer he can wait.
First off: If GM Steve Yzerman’s goalies-on-the-cheap team building – handed down from atop Mount Ken Holland – helps drive the franchise’s best offensive player out of town … well, that’s a tragedy.
In fact, if it’s come to the point where St. Louis would be contemplating a trade to a contender, wouldn’t that be an indictment of Yzerman’s tenure as GM?
He took over in May 2010, and was lauded for putting together a Lightning team that made the conference finals, from the suffocating system of Guy Boucher to the legion of Grind-Line-esque forward that peppered the lineup.
But the mix hasn’t been right the last two seasons, despite Yzerman's best efforts. Does that fall on the coach that seems to have lost his Midas touch or does that fall on the GM that hasn't been able to fortify the team defensively?
The Bolts are six points off the bubble in the Eastern Conference. They’re 23rd in the NHL in GAA (2.96); were it not for Steven Stamkos and St. Louis scoring 29 percent of their total goals, where would they be?
So, essentially, what we’re saying is: If Marty St. Louis asks for a trade, the answer from Yzerman is “I’m deputizing you as assistant GM. Tell me what I need to get to make you stay. You’re too important to my franchise player and to this franchise overall. May I also offer you a foot massage?”
Marty St. Louis needs to retire a Bolt. Buy out Lecavalier 10 times before trading Marty.