Chip Carter: Bolts, St. Louis need to step back - FOX 13 News

Chip Carter: Bolts, St. Louis need to step back

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Martin St. Louis' request to be traded by Steve Yzerman after the Olympic snub, to me, is just a knee-jerk reaction by a player who simply reacted without thinking clearly.

First question, why does he want to be traded? What team could he go to and still have the same impact, playing time and fan support he gets here?

He's a the team captain, the face of the franchise, a player who is still delivering at a high level, but let's be honest, he's 38 now, will be 39 in June when his team could still possibly be in the playoffs.

If a 38-year-old player, who (right now) has high value like St. Louis went to any NHL GM and asked to be traded, that player would be gone. It's the perfect business move -- it's the GM's job to think about the franchise, not the bruised ego of one player -- and any NHL GM would trade a soon-to-be-39-year-old player for an up-and-coming 25-year-old. That's the business.

So the trade request was St. Louis' first mistake. His second mistake, and why I feel he could not have been thinking clearly if he made that trade request is this: He is the Lightning's version of Ronde Barber, one of the faces of the Lightning franchise. Because of that, St. Louis' equity, his worth, is higher with the Lightning than any other NHL team.

Say St. Louis goes to the Rangers this season and New York cuts him loose next year because he'd be 39 years old, or only gives a short-term deal because he is just about 40. Rangers fans aren't going to howl and scream about that deal because it makes hockey sense. But here in the Bay Area, after 13 years with the Lightning as one of the faces of the franchise, if there is a perception the team is dumping St. Louis, there would be a fan revolt.

So simply put, he is worth more to this franchise, will get more money, maybe more years, definitely a bigger deal with the Bolts than he would with any other NHL team.

Was it a knee-jerk reaction to the Olympic snub? I'd say probably. But you know what? It wasn't just Yzerman making that Olympic decision -- and there were tough decisions. St. Louis gets in while 26-year-old Claude Giroux is out -- even though both are having nearly identical seasons.

There were others who didn't make it -- Joe Thornton, Eric Staal, Milan Lucic. All had reasons they would have worked on Team Canada.

This trade request by St. Louis does nothing but make a player who I think is loaded with character look a bit petty. It may or may not affect the chemistry in that locker room and it may or may not be a distraction as this team hits the last 24 games of the season before the playoffs.

All of that is debatable, but there is no debate that St. Louis' trade request makes sense from a business standpoint in this league. Basically it's St. Louis' call -- since St. Louis has a no-trade clause. Teams won't have to give the Lightning fair value if they want to work a deal by March 5.

This trade might be something the Lightning and St. Louis table for now -- kill the distraction and shut down the questions until the off-season, where there would be more options and the Lightning would get a better deal in return.

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