Marty St. Louis trade talk part of fallout from Olympic snub
The news, first reported in the New York Post, that Rangers general manager Glen Sather has inquired about acquiring Lightning captain Marty St. Louis in trade should not be a surprise.
You have to figure Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman took several calls after St. Louis was left off Canada’s original Olympic lineup. That put a major strain on St. Louis’ relationship with Yzerman, who was Team Canada’s executive director.
Why wouldn’t teams call to see if the relationship was so broken Tampa Bay would consider trading its captain?
But if the swap was simply St. Louis for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, Sather either doesn’t know Yzerman very well or he was merely fishing as part of his attempt to trade Callahan before the right wing leaves New York as an unrestricted free agent.
If we have learned anything about Yzerman, he is all about the kids, keeping and acquiring young talent that helps insulate the organization from salary cap pressures and feeds the conveyor belt from the minors to keep the organization invigorated over time.
So it is highly unlikely Yzerman would go for a straight up swap for Callahan, especially since there is the possibility he would be no more than a rental if he decided to test free agency.
Even the Post reported Sather was not willing to give up the additional prospects and/or draft choices it would have taken for Yzerman to even consider a deal. Beyond that, St. Louis has a no-move clause in his contract.
There also is this: trading St. Louis would be a huge public relations nightmare for the Lightning. It is a completely different situation than when the team bought out then-captain Vinny Lecavalier, whose contract was clearly an albatross and whose diminished productivity made the move understandable.
St. Louis arguably is Tampa Bay’s greatest player and at 38 years old is having a marvelous season with 25 goals, 56 points in 58 games. Tampa Bay also is about to get injured superstar Steven Stamkos back into the lineup, and the Lightning, third in the Eastern Conference, has a chance to do some real damage in the playoffs.
The deal would have to be pretty sweet for Yzerman to tinker with team chemistry, the locker room and public opinion.
In addition, it is believed Callahan is looking for a six-year deal for about $6.75 million a year. That seems more than Tampa Bay would like to commit for a player who, though the type of gritty leader teams desire, has been injured and is struggling with 11 goals, 24 points in 42 games.
St. Louis has one more year on his deal with a cap hit of $5.625 million.
Look, the relationship between St. Louis-Yzerman took a hit. But the two have spoken several times, and St. Louis’ acknowledgment at the Olympics that Yzerman had a tough job to do perhaps indicates a thaw. Owner Jeff Vinik also has met with St. Louis.
Who knows what will happen before the March 5 trade deadline? We do know a straight-up swap for Ryan Callahan isn’t going to happen.