The New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning swapped captains last week on NHL trade deadline day. The deal sent last season’s Art Ross winner, Martin St. Louis, to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan, a first-round pick in 2015 and a second-round pick in 2014.
St. Louis is an offensive player if he’s anything, at all. He was acquired by New York to boost scoring – the Rangers are in the bottom half of the league for goals scored. However, since joining the Blueshirts St. Louis has posted one measly assist in four games.
You have to figure the goals will come for St. Louis as he continues to familiarize himself with his new club and adjust to life as a Ranger. Number 26 has been reunited with former teammate and fellow Cup champion Brad Richards – the two played major roles in the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup championship.
The circumstances in which Martin St. Louis left Tampa Bay do not endear him to fans, thus, you won’t find anyone in Tampa crying over the new Rangers’ recent slump.
It unfolded as such: Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman was also in charge of constructing Team Canada’s roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. As GM of the Bolts and Canada, Yzerman was thrust into an uncomfortable position – he was required to toss away bias and choose the best available Canadian hockey players for the team, and if his own club team players weren’t deemed worthy of a spot, it would be on him to say so. He did. And as soon as the Olympics were over and Yzerman’s team had gold, he resigned as the general manager of Team Canada.
Steve Yzerman, who received plenty of council from his assistants and coaching staff, ultimately chose to not select his own club team’s captain, Martin St. Louis, for the Canadian Olympic roster. Martin St. Louis, who felt snubbed when he was not selected in 2010, was disappointed with the omission of himself from the 2014 roster.
The Bolts former captain ended up on Team Canada – selected as an injury replacement for his own teammate Steven Stamkos who was unable to recover from the broken leg he suffered in November against the Boston Bruins.
St. Louis went to Sochi, won gold with Canada, and all was good – or at least that’s what we thought.
Less than twenty-four-hours after the gold medal game reports surfaced stating that Martin St. Louis had requested a trade out of Tampa Bay, the city he lived for more than a decade; the franchise that gave him a chance when no one else would.
You see, Martin St. Louis got his wish, in the end, but this could be a case of be careful what you wish for.
St. Louis’s tenure with the Rangers has begun slowly. The club is 2-2 with him in the lineup, but he hasn’t contributed much in the way of offensive production, at least not at his usual pace. The list of older players who have left an organization they’d spent more than a decade with is long and filled with sad endings. Ray Bourque aside, Mats Sundin, Mike Modano, even Daniel Alfredsson this season (he left the Sens almost twenty-years after they drafted him) may miss the playoffs with the Wings, and his Senators have regressed without him. Old guy goes to new team busts more often than not. It’s an adjustment, no doubt.
Four games is a minuscule sample size. Marty isn’t scoring yet with the Rangers but that could all change very quickly if he finds his form and has a couple big games – makes an impact down the stretch. But what if he doesn’t? What if St. Louis isn’t the same guy he was with the Lightning? He is no longer the face of the franchise, the relied upon leader; the go-to-guy. The dynamics have changed: Martin St. Louis is just a hired gun now – it’s different.