- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Let’s put those Martin St. Louis trade rumors to bed.
For whatever reason, the star winger’s name has been bandied about in media speculation ahead of Wednesday’s trade deadline, most recently as a possible fit for Boston, but it won't happen.
At least not according to the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Marty St. Louis is not going to be traded," Steve Yzerman told ESPN.com on Friday. "He remains one of the best players in the league and an extremely important player to our team, both on and off the ice. We are a team in transition, we just made a coaching change, Marty is one of the leaders of the team, he is not going anywhere."
From the beginning, the St. Louis trade rumors never made a whole lot of sense. He’s got two more years on his deal, so it’s not like he’s a pending UFA who would top the rental market like Jarome Iginla did before being moved this week.
Yes, St. Louis is 37 years old, and perhaps people wondered if he’d want to go elsewhere to win a Cup with Tampa struggling. But St. Louis matters so much more to the Tampa organization than what he does on the ice, which on its own remains impressive enough. He’s still an all-world player. But that’s just half the story in terms of his value to the Lightning.
At a morning skate last month at Madison Square Garden, I was sitting beside Yzerman in the stands, watching his team practicing.
One by one the players left the ice at the end of the skate, leaving only St. Louis and superstar Steven Stamkos on the ice -- the pair sticking around longer to take more shots on goal.
Which prompted Yzerman to talk about how much it means when your stars are also among the hardest-working guys on your team, leading by example with their work ethic.
So when the St. Louis trade rumors began recently, I thought back to that moment and felt there was no way Yzerman could even think that way.
St. Louis has a full no-move clause, but that’s not even the point. The GM needs his veteran star around to continue to be a model for his group.
Would he be a fit in Boston? Well, yeah. He’d be a fit on about almost any team in the league, aside from perhaps Pittsburgh, where they’ve run out of locker-room stalls.
However, I will repeat one of my famous "no-trade" anecdotes when one year I quoted then-Calgary GM Darryl Sutter saying he wasn’t trading Dion Phaneuf, only to see him traded to Toronto about three weeks later.
But in this case, I’m taking Yzerman to his word.
10dScott Burnside and Craig Custance