The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded their leading scorer, Martin St. Louis, to the New York Rangers in exchange for their captain, Ryan Callahan along with a 2015 first-round and a conditional 2014 second-round draft pick.
Should the Rangers advance to the 2014 Eastern Conference Final, the 2014 second-rounder would become a first-round pick. In the event Callahan should re-sign with the Lightning, the Rangers would receive Tampa Bay's second-round pick at the 2015 NHL Draft while the Lightning would receive the Rangers' seventh-round draft pick in 2015.
St. Louis had been the Lightning's leader in both goals (29) and points (61) this season prior to being traded.
The 38-year-old St. Louis was rumoured to have wanted out of Tampa Bay after being left off the initial Team Canada Olympic roster by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman. St. Louis was later named to the team as Steven Stamkos' injury replacement.
"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," said Yzerman. "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."
St. Louis in third season of a four-year deal he signed with the Lightning prior to the 2010-2011 season worth an average annual value of $5.625 million.
In 45 games with the Rangers this season, Callahan has scored 11 goals and 14 assists.
Eligible for unrestricted free agency at season's end, Callahan carries a salary cap hit for 2013-14 of $4.275 million. He and the Rangers have been unable to agree on a contract extension, with his salary demands believed to be in excess of $6.5 million per season on a long-term deal.
Callahan and the Rangers were about $200,000 per year apart in contract talks before the trade was made with the lack of a no-trade clause apparently a big issue.
"We never felt our request for Callahan was without support of other contracts, Dustin Brown, Miku Koivu etc.," said Callahan's agent Steve Bartlett. "Also, after Rangers gave permission to talk to other teams, I knew I could get a contract done, so confirmed asking price or term not out of line. Also, as we neared the deadline we made every effort to get closer to their number and agreed to Rangers term of 6 years, we never got a handle on the no trade issue and it would make zero sense to give up UFA to sign and be subject to trade."
"The Lightning are very excited to have Ryan Callahan join the organization and help us in our quest to make the playoffs," said Yzerman. "Ryan is an outstanding player and leader who we look forward to seeing on the ice tomorrow night."
Originally undrafted, St. Louis has fought his way to a long and productive NHL career, scoring 369 goals and 604 assissts in 1,041 career games with the Lightning and Calgary Flames.
A six-time NHL All-Star, St. Louis is the reigning Art Ross Trophy-winner for most points in the 2012-13 NHL season. He has twice won the Art Ross, his previous win coming in the 2003-04 season in which he also won the Hart Memorial Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Awards for Most Valuable Player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and the NHL players, respectively.
St. Louis won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004 and has won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the NHL's Most Gentlemanly Player in three of the past four NHL seasons.
Callahan, 28, is in his eighth NHL season, all with the Rangers. Callahan is a three-time 20-goal scorer with a career-high 29 in 2011-12 when he also set a personal best in points with 61.He has scored 132 goals and 122 assists in 450 career games
Selected in the fourth round (127th overall) at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Callahan has been selected to represent the United States at two Olympic Games.
He was named the Rangers' 26th team captain in September of 2011.