Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning has little incentive to trade Marty St. Louis

No one really knows how the Marty St. Louis drama ultimately will play out, but the consensus among all the rumor and speculation seems to be there is not enough time to get a deal done with the Rangers before Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.

That could change, certainly. All it takes is one phone call.

But if St. Louis is willing to waive his no-move clause only to go to New York — he and his family spend summers at their home in nearby Greenwich, Conn. — Rangers general manager Glen Sather has to do a lot better than offer just Ryan Callahan.

Beyond that, what is the incentive for Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman to make a deal right now?

St. Louis, 38, still is a terrific player, with 29 goals and 60 points in 60 games. Tampa Bay is in the middle of a playoff hunt, has the goaltending in place to do some damage in the postseason and is about to get back injured 60-goal scorer Steven Stamkos.

St. Louis, who has scored more clutch, big-game goals than any player in Lightning history, is more an asset in that equation. Dealing him at this point would require Yzerman to get at least nearly equal value in terms of an NHL-ready player; that's not easy to do, especially if he is limited to talking with Sather.

No one believes, either, that if St. Louis isn't moved, his commitment to his teammates will waiver.

"No, never," alternate captain Nate Thompson said. "Marty is our captain, and he is our captain for a reason. He pushes the pace for us. He's the heart and soul of this team, and wants the best for this team."

The thing is, if St. Louis isn't moved now, unless he or Yzerman comes out and says the right wing is staying, the summer will be filled with more chatter that St. Louis, heading into the final year of his contract, will be moved.

Would St. Louis allow Yzerman to talk to more teams? That's difficult to say; his focus seems to be on New York.

Former Lightning general manager Brian Lawton, now a television analyst for Canada's Sportsnet, said Friday that St. Louis requested a trade to the Rangers in 2009. (Go to tampabay.com/blogs/lightning to read more.)

Back then, the Lightning, under Lawton and owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, was struggling. With that, it had an incentive to trade St. Louis. For this week, at least, another team will have to create that for Yzerman.

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