The exchange of captains may end up being the biggest deal to go down before the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Confirmed: New York Rangers trade Ryan Callahan, 1st and 2nd round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Martin St.louis. #NHL— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenlze) March 5, 2014
One of the top scorers on a team that seems primed for a deep playoff run, St. Louis was apparently unhappy with the situation in Tampa and requested a trade. The Rangers were motivated to make the deal because they were unable to work out a contract extension with Callahan and were likely to lose him when he has the opportunity to become unrestricted free agent this summer.
Even if Tampa doesn’t retain Callahan, who has recorded 11 goals and 25 points in 45 games this season, they will still have the first- and second-round picks to fall back on.
St. Louis will join talented scorer Rick Nash in New York while Callahan will come aboard a Lightning team that is expected to be getting Steve Stamkos back in the lineup on Thursday after he broke his leg in November.
"We'd like to thank Marty for everything he has done on and off the ice during his outstanding 13-year career in Tampa Bay," Tampa general manager Steve Yzerman said in a release. "He has been one of the greatest players in the organization's history but in the end we honored his request today. We wish him and his family the best of luck as he continues his career in New York."