May 29, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30), right wing Martin St. Louis (26) and the rest of the Rangers pose with the Prince of Whales trophy after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in game six of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Martin St. Louis Trade Benefitting New York Rangers Now, Tampa Bay Lightning In Future

The New York Rangers are headed to their first Stanley Cup final since 1994, and 38-year-old former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis is a big reason why.

At this point in time, one could say Rangers GM Glen Sather hit a home run with this move as the player he traded away, Ryan Callahan, was set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and contract negotiations weren’t exactly going smoothly. In fact, things were so tense the team couldn’t solely focus on the task at hand: securing another Stanley Cup playoff berth.

Meanwhile, down in Tampa Bay, a disgruntled St. Louis was irked enough by being left off Canada’s original Olympic roster to request that Bolts GM Steve Yzerman trade him to the Rangers, the lone team he’d waive his no-trade clause for.

May 25, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis (26) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the overtime period in game four of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With the Rangers rallying around the sudden passing of St. Louis’ mother just days before Mothers Day, and ultimately capturing their first conference championship in 20 years, it would be easy to declare New York the winner of this swap. Even more so when you look at Callahan’s performance (zero points, minus-4 rating) during the Lightning’s first round sweep at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.

Is that an accurate assumption, though?

Delving deeper into this rare trade, you see that Yzerman probably saw an opportunity to make his captain happy while still building his team for future success. He accomplished both, with St. Louis vying for another Stanley Cup before hanging up his skates for good, and the Lightning taking New York’s first round draft pick, a stipulation of them advancing to the conference finals.

Looking forward, that could prove extremely beneficial for the Lightning. St. Louis was only signed through the end of 2014-15′, and while his offensive abilities are out of this world for someone his age, the defense isn’t nearly as good. In comparison, Calder Trophy finalists Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat have immense upside when it comes to providing offense, but know when to get back and provide support on the back end.

Couple that with up-and-coming prospects Jonathan Drouin, expected to make the Lightning’s roster next season after recording back-to-back 100+ point seasons with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, Adam Erne, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Kristers Gudlevskis, and others ready to make the leap, and you could easily argue Tampa Bay’s just a few key pieces away from its own Cup run.

What do you all think? Does the Marty St. Louis trade benefit the Rangers, Lightning or is it too early to tell? Could Tampa Bay’s short term pain equal a long term gain? Feel free to sound off in the comment section below.


Tags: Martin St. Louis New York Rangers Tampa Bay Lightning

  • MH

    Yzerman made the best of a bad situation. It’s unfortunate that he was handcuffed and forced to trade 1 of his best players b/c he was upset over being left off the Olympics. But I guess it pays to whine, right?

  • Galactic Stone

    I think both sides made the best of a bad situation. In the long run, I think both teams did pretty good.

  • Dov Ivry

    Callahan was the heart and soul of the Rangers, leading them to first place in the conference and to the eastern finals two years ago. But the contract negotiations soured everything and he became a distraction. That Sather came out of it with a hall of famer like St. Louis was a fabulous move. Tampa Bay got two first round draft choices out of it so the trade was good for them too. Callahan is not a big-time scorer so he may be asking for too much money, wherever he goes. But he’s a solid two-way player who gives 110 per cent every shift.

  • Tim Rock

    This Ranger nucleus is not going to be around a couple of years from now. For the Rangers, the time to strike was right now and it was obvious Nash could not do it all himself. Another proven scorer was needed. Heart and soul doesn’t score goals. So it was a very needed trade for a guy who led the league in scoring last year. Plus, St. Louis has heart and soul. And a better stick. Wherever Callahan goes, he’ll be an excellent addition. But this was about making the Rangers better right now and that has happened.

  • James Bleyer

    Yzerman has proved to be a terrible drafter and Callahan will be overpaid by Buffalo. Lightning snookered.