Fresh off of winning a gold medal with Team Canada, Martin St. Louis may be donning a new uniform come playoff time.
Rumors are flying in that St. Louis, who has been with the Tampa Bay Lightning for over a decade, may be traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Callahan. Callahan will be a free agent at the end of the season, and the Rangers reportedly aren’t close to reaching a deal with their captain. It might be a surprise to hockey fans who is fueling this rumor.
Boomer Esiason, former NFL quarterback and current New York radio host, said on his show “Boomer & Carton” that there’s a good shot St. Louis will be traded in a straight-up deal for Callahan. It’s not very known, but Boomer has quite the history of correctly predicting events in the hockey world, the end of the last NHL lockout being one of them. The guy knows hockey; it’s just that simple.
It is certainly a possibility that St. Louis demanded a trade out of Tampa Bay when he found out that Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman did not initially select him for Team Canada. St. Louis was placed on the roster as the replacement for teammate Steven Stamkos, who wasn’t medically cleared to compete. Even if St. Louis wanted out of Tampa Bay, it’s difficult to fathom that the front office would seriously consider shipping him away.
While Stamkos has been sidelined, St. Louis has been a main reason why the Lightning have the third most points in the Eastern Conference. He leads the team with 56 points, 15 more than any one of his teammates, and is arguably the face of the franchise, especially with Stamkos still injured. Callahan would be a solid pickup, but he wouldn’t be the guy that brought the Stanley Cup to Tampa Bay if it meant getting rid of St. Louis as well.
The stumbling point here is whether or not Yzerman is willing to resign Callahan at the end of this season. Getting rid of the leading scorer in exchange for a rental property doesn’t make too much sense at this point, or honestly, ever. St. Louis is signed through next year and his cap hit will only be $5.6 million. If the trade happened, and the Lightning did resign Callahan, his cap hit will most likely be much higher. While this is perhaps the juiciest trade rumor in professional hockey — even though I do respect Boomer’s credibility in breaking NHL announcements — I would be stunned to see the trade executed.
From Tampa Bay’s viewpoint, it just wouldn’t make any sense, especially with Stamkos due back soon. The Lightning are currently looking like a serious Stanley Cup contender, and we all know the old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Shane Darrow is an NHL writer for Rant Sports; Feel free to follow him on Twitter @ShaneDarrow