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Would Lightning's St. Louis want trade?

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) looks on before play resumes against the Florida Panthers during third period action at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Jan. 29..

DIRK SHADD | Times

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) looks on before play resumes against the Florida Panthers during third period action at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Jan. 29..

Would Marty St. Louis ever leave the Lightning? Would Steve Yzerman consider trading him?

Tho notion might not be as far-fetched as you think, and as the April 3 trade deadline gets closer — and if Tampa Bay completely loses its grasp on the playoff race — expect St. Louis and the general manager to at least have a conversation about it.

Let's preface this by saying there is no indication such a discussion has occurred, and for the Lightning to part with its all-time greatest points producer would be a public relations challenge of epic proportions.

So this is pure speculation and makes sense only if St. Louis, with a no-move clause in his contract, determines leaving gives him the best chance to again play for a winner before he retires.

Consider these circumstances:

When St. Louis in July 2010 signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract extension, he did so with the notion the organization, under new ownership and management, would move in a positive direction. But after the team reached the Eastern Conference final in 2010-11, it was out of the playoffs in 2011-12 and appears this season it will fall short again.

St. Louis, 37, might look at a team clearly in transition — it is trying to develop Anders Lindback as a No. 1 goaltender and has eight players on its current roster who played last season or have played this season in the AHL — and wonder how much longer he can wait.

For Yzerman, dealing St. Louis, who has been with the Lightning since July 2000, would be wrenching. St. Louis is the heart and soul of the franchise. His speed and play-making skills are considered the catalysts for the heights reached by Vinny Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos. And fans love the player who has contributed more big moments to the franchise than any other.

But Yzerman certainly respects St. Louis' desire to play for a winner. And considering the Laval, Quebec, native — fourth in the league entering Saturday with 36 points and second with 29 assists — still is productive and signed through 2014-15, he would command a high, hole-filling price, starting with an NHL-ready defenseman.

Will St. Louis approach Yzerman or the other way around? Will any of this even take place? Who knows? But wouldn't St. Louis, with his career winding down, at least think about it?

Would Lightning's St. Louis want trade? 03/16/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 16, 2013 11:05pm]
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