So Martin St. Louis got his wish -- if you believe former Lightning GM Brian Lawton, that St. Louis came to him back in 2009 and requested a trade to the Rangers when the team was struggling.
I will try and not get caught up in the emotion of this trade -- from a business standpoint it makes sense. I said earlier, any GM in the league is going to trade a 38-year-old for a 28-year-old player -- plus a first-round pick in 2015 and a second-round pick in 2014.
The only question is whether the Lightning hold onto Ryan Callahan. He is a free agent on July 1. But here's the deal: Reportedly, Callahan and the Rangers were close to an extension that would pay him around $6-million a season (which is what St. Louis was earning, so that's a salary wash). I am thinking that Yzerman locked or should have locked in Callahan to the same kind of extension before he pulled the strings on this deal.
That's another reason I question why St. Louis would make the move. He has no equity with the Rangers or their fans, and while he has one more year left on his deal -- unless he was going to end his run after next season -- you know he would have more value to the Lightning because of that relationship than he would with the Rangers. So his move to ask for a trade based on that is a little surprising.
But simply from an X's and O's standpoint, from a business standpoint, it makes sense for both teams. The Rangers get short-term help; the Lightning get a talented player and future picks.
Right now, there is a poll on Rogersportsnet.com asking which team won this trade and it's nearly 2 to 1 in favor of the Lightning at this point.
There is a part of me that says St. Louis had a "me first" attitude down the stretch not a "team first" attitude. I have a hard time understanding why he would bail now on a team that is still locked in to a playoff spot, a team and a franchise that put him front and center. He was the team captain, the face of the franchise on billboards, but that's the emotional side of the game.
The reality is it's a business -- that's the answer. In 13 years here, St. Louis gave this team everything he could on the ice.
So, given what he delivered to this team over the last 13 years, do I think it was the right move?, Absolutely. I can understand the fan angst over the decision and the deal -- in fact, I share it -- but I'm not getting caught up in the emotion of it.
Players come and go. St. Louis will be 39 in June. His Rangers may be in the playoffs, or they may be shut out of the playoffs. Right now, they are seventh in the Eastern Conference with a lot of heat on their heels.
So maybe the bottom line to this deal is this: St. Louis was going to be done after next year anyway. It's the last year of his contract and he wanted to finish out his career in NY, which is close to where he has a home in Connecticut. Because in 2014-2015, he'll be 39 when the season starts, and 40 if his Rangers make the playoffs in 2015.
Maybe he was going to get out of the game at 40, which certainly makes sense. Maybe he had issues with Steve Yzerman. Maybe he had family reasons to get back up north. The reasons behind the deal don't matter -- what matters are the ramifications of the deal, not the reasons behind it.
And the early return on this deal is that the Lightning -- from a stat sheet position, from a team leadership position, from a veteran who has been part of a stretch playoff run, a player who is producing at a high level -- just got worse. Not long-term worse, but there is no question that they took a short-term hit for what should be a long-term payoff.
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