How Long Can Martin St. Louis Remain Productive in the NHL?

By Brandon Burnett
Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
Eric Hartline – USA Today Sports

For a guy who stands at just 5’8″, weighs 176 pounds and wasn’t even drafted coming out of college, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis has enjoyed a pretty amazing and lengthy run in the National Hockey League. Through 11 games in 2013, he’s been as productive as usual (if not more), tallying three goals and 13 assists.

Soon to be 38-years old, though, one must wonder how much longer St. Louis can keep this up.

St. Louis has treated Lightning fans to over a decade of great hockey, including six separate seasons in which he scored more than 80 points. In 2006-07, he broke the 100-point mark, finishing with 102. He helped the Bolts become Stanley Cup champions in 2003-04, and took home the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league MVP that season as well.

He may be small, but he’s sneaky on the ice and knows how to take care of his body, and has been one of the most durable players over the last ten years. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to stave off the age factor. He is under contract in Tampa until 2015, so here’s hoping the retirement speech won’t come at the conclusion of this season or even the next.

Even though last season was St. Louis’ first finishing with less than 80 points since 2005-06, he’s still extremely efficient and remains an effective leader on the ice as well.

The way St. Louis has been skating this season, he looks as if he could continue to lace ’em up until he’s 45. Steven Stamkos and the rest of the Lightning organization are all for the idea. Still, whether we’re talking about Martin St. Louis or Wayne Gretzky, age begins to catch up at some point. Once the production slips, it never comes back.

Regardless of how much time St. Louis does or doesn’t have left, sometimes it’s nice to look back an enjoy the memories he’s given fans of the Lightning and the NHL in general throughout the years.

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