Earlier this week we touched on the idea of a potential trade between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Stuck amidst unsuccessful contract talks, the Rangers would send captain Ryan Callahan to Tampa for longtime forward Martin St. Louis. At the time, it seemed odd, especially with how much St. Louis’ contributions have helped the Lightning climb near the top of the Eastern Conference.
However, these rumors are starting to pick up steam. The reasoning for St. Louis’ name popping up on the trade market appears to have come from his public anger about being snubbed from the Canadian Olympic roster. Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman also made roster cuts for Team Canada, so apparently St. Louis felt there should be some loyalty. Thanks to the loss of fellow Lightning team member Steven Stamkos, who had a Canadian roster spot, St. Louis was called upon as a replacement. Apparently, though, this didn’t make things much better.
So, with the NHL trade deadline now just a week away, will St. Louis force a trade from a team he’s been on for over a decade due to initially being snubbed from the Canadian roster?
It sounds lofty, and almost a bit catty, but from everything being whispered around the league, it’s not out of the question at all. Some reports are saying St. Louis asked for Yzerman to trade him when he saw the first Olympic roster didn’t include his name. When asked if being added as an injury replacement made St. Louis revoke the rumored trade request, the vet forward didn’t really dispel anything.
“I’ve had conversations with [Yzerman] about my future with the team and I’ll leave it at that,” he said.
This doesn’t exactly make it sound like things are peachy again in Tampa. Were those “conversations” positive? Did he claim he still wants to be traded? Does he even want to be traded?
We don’t know the answers at this point, but you can’t help but wonder why St. Louis would take so much offense to missing the first Olympic cut that he’d demand to be traded.
First of all, he wasn’t the only big name who didn’t make the initial roster. Claude Giroux, James Neal and Taylor Hall were all notable players who didn’t get invites to Sochi. It wasn’t like Yzerman skipped over St. Louis so he could give the spot to some fourth line grinder. The list of talented Canadians he had to choose from was incredibly long, so there were always going to be worthy players passed over. Did St. Louis feel he was entitled to a place on the roster because the man making the calls was his GM? He’s a talented player, for sure, but expecting to get an Olympic invite due to his networking seems wrong.
Secondly, why demand a trade now? If this was last season, when Tampa struggled and missed the postseason, then sure, abandon ship. But this year the Lightning are performing very well, and are due to receive a huge boost when Stamkos returns from injury in the coming weeks. Is St. Louis really willing to bail now when the team is contending?
Who’s to say the situation he gets traded to will be any better? Sure, once his name officially appears on the market, a lot of teams will jump in line with offers. However, let’s say this deal with New York goes through. He’ll go from third place and home-ice advantage to a Rangers team that would lose its captain in Callahan, will be without Mats Zuccarello for a few weeks and hardly has a firm grip on a playoff berth. At the end of the day, would St. Louis look at that situation and approve simply because Rangers GM Glen Sather might have given him a Canadian roster spot if he had the chance?
One would hope either St. Louis is better than this, or at the very least there’s more to his rumored trade request than a petty grudge with Yzerman. If not, the longtime Lightning forward needs to think long and hard about the possibility of altering his future with Tampa over an Olympic snub. He might not exactly like where he gets sent if a trade goes through.