In one of the biggest stories of the NHL season so far, the New York Rangers have finally settled the Ryan Callahan issue by trading him and two draft picks to the Tampa Bay Lightning for veteran Martin St. Louis. While the Rangers have finally settled the drama with their captain, was this the best move for the organization?
On the one hand, the Rangers solved the problem of their unrestricted free agents this offseason by trading Callahan and also re-signing defenseman Dan Girardi earlier this month, but the Rangers lose a second-round draft pick in this year’s draft and a first-round pick in next year’s draft. While St. Louis has been producing at a great rate for the Lightning, and hopefully can continue that for the Rangers, will he be able to continue that next season?
The Rangers have made a blockbuster trade that will undoubtedly benefit both sides this season and hopefully will benefit the Rangers even more in the future.
The one upside to this deal is that the Rangers secure a high-profile player for at least one more season after this one, at which time St. Louis will be 40 and the Rangers will have an option as to what to do with him. If St. Louis declines sharply next season, then he can be let go of at the end of the season and the Rangers have $5.5 million to spend on the free agent market.
While a trade for Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny might have been a better fit for New York, maybe the deal just wasn’t something that the Rangers could afford to make. St. Louis is nearing 40, but he is still a big contributor on offense; he is someone that could spark the Rangers’ offense and give them that added edge that they need to succeed.
St. Louis is a Stanley Cup champion and a leader who can help the Rangers get to that point, something Callahan was not capable of doing. At the very least, St. Louis will be a leader in the locker room. While the Rangers have undoubtedly lost a leader and a fan favorite, St. Louis is capable of filling in Callahan’s shoes while adding skill, talent and a style of play that Callahan did not have.
Now that all the controversy and confusion have been settled in New York, perhaps the Rangers will go back to their winning ways as the distractions have been resolved. While maybe not the perfect scenario for the Rangers in an ideal world, the trade for St. Louis offers the Rangers a fresh start and an opportunity to further their success.