Marty St. Louis made a demand, got his wish and the powers in the Eastern Conference may have dramatically shifted to the New York Rangers – in the short term.
The Tampa Bay Lightning traded St. Louis to the Rangers on Wednesday for forward Ryan Callahan, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2014 second-round pick, with conditions.
It’s the first captain for captain trade in NHL deadline history.
Callahan was a pending UFA that couldn’t come to terms with the Rangers in time. Reports were that they had agreed to term (six years) but had a gulf of around $500,000 per season in money.
You have to give to get, and clearly GM Steve Yzerman wanted a top six forward from the Rangers if it meant sending his second best offensive player there. Callahan gives the Lightning a tenacious defensive forward and someone that gives them a net presence; how many Steven Stamkos slappers will sail through a Callahan screen, or generate rebounds for Callahan to cash in?
Plus, how does losing a heart and soul player like Ryan Callahan affect the Rangers’ room?
As for St. Louis and the Lightning … well, obviously they were at an end. Bringing him back after this public discourse with Yzerman was impossible; he would be a captain in name only after attempting to jump ship from a playoff team. The perception that his Olympic snub lit the fuse is inescapable, and not refuted by St. Louis. It’s frankly insulting to think that he’d allow that to necessitate this after ending up with a gold medal around his neck.
St. Louis is 38 and is signed through 2015. He’s a point per game player, and has maintained that pace without Stamkos in the lineup. The good news is Stamkos is back; the question is whether losing St. Louis is losing their grip on a playoff spot.
How does he fit in with the Rangers? On Brad Richards’ wing one assumes, with Carl Hagelin on the other side. It immediately upgrades the Rangers’ top six to one as potent as anything the Boston Bruins or Pittsburgh Penguins can roll out.
But it’s short term, and it borders on short-sighted. There was no market for St. Louis.
He wasn’t going anywhere but New York, with a home in Connecticut and a long-gestating desire to play with the Rangers. And yet they ship Callahan, a first and a second and potentially another pick if Callahan signs with the Lightning.
Per Pierre LeBrun: “The 2nd-rounder in 2014 to Tampa becomes a 1st if the Rangers get to conference final; if Callahan re-signs in Tampa then the Rangers get Tampa’s 2nd in 2015 and Tampa gets Rangers 7th in 2015.”
Again: St. Louis was only going to the Rangers. The bridges between him and the Lightning were smoldering. Yet Glen Sather anted up quite a bounty for him.
On the Milbury Scale:
That’s a solid three. Yzerman wins the trade even before making a single pick. There’s no replacing St. Louis. He’s a special player. But Yzerman potentially just got a top-six captain and two first-rounders for a 38-year-old that was all boo-boo faced over an exhibition tournament snub.
The Rangers get a short-term boost, no doubt. But the cost is larger than St. Louis’ thighs.
Of course, if they win the Cup ...
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