Lightning in Play
Suddenly, it appears that Marty St. Louis, rather than Vinny Lecavalier, may be the Tampa Bay Lightning star that could be on the move.
Multiple teams are calling Lightning GM Brian Lawton about St. Louis' availability even though the veteran forward has a no-trade clause in his contract. One of the most interested clubs may be the New York Rangers, particularly since St. Louis' former coach, John Tortorella, is now behind the New York bench.
St. Louis would become the No. 1 forward available before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline if the Lightning were to ask him to waive his no-trade status. Not only is he still an elite and productive forward, the 33-year-old has Stanley Cup championship experience and will be heading into the final two years of a contract next season that will pay him a very affordable $4 million in salary.
By comparison, winger Ryan Malone is another Tampa player who may be available, but he has four years left on a deal that pays him $4.25 million per season.
Other teams are calling, but the offensively challenged Blueshirts might be the team that would benefit most by St. Louis' talents. New York has significant assets in prospects, including Brampton winger Evgeny Grachev.
The waters between the Rangers and Lightning were poisoned to some degree last week when Tortorella, after being hired to coach New York, seemed to make public overtures towards Tampa assistant coach Mike Sullivan, something just not done in the NHL.
The Lightning opted not to pursue tampering charges.
St. Louis is Tampa's leading scorer with 62 points in 63 games, and is a plus-10 on the season.
New York's difficulty in making a move to get a player like St. Louis is complicated by the fact they are up against the salary cap, already may have plans to pick up Sean Avery off re-entry waivers today from Dallas and have several unmoveable contracts, including Wade Redden and Scott Gomez.
ESPN.com and TSN, meanwhile, are reported this afternoon that Atlanta has traded defenceman Niclas Havelid, an unrestricted free agent in July, to New Jersey for defence prospect Anssi Salmela.
The Devils, in town tonight to play the Maple Leafs, had been looking for another puck-moving defenceman as they surge towards the post-season with standout goaltender Martin Brodeur back in harness.