Source: Rangers eye Martin St. Louis

Updated: March 5, 2014, 10:39 AM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

With no deal on an extension for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan in the final hours leading to Wednesday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, the Martin St. Louis-to-New York speculation is heating up.

The Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning have had discussions about a potential deal that would bring the veteran winger to Broadway, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.

[+] EnlargeMartin St. Louis
Sergei Belski/USA TODAY SportsThe Rangers and Lightning have discussed a trade involving Martin St. Louis, according to a source.

It is believed that St. Louis, who has a no-trade clause, has made it clear to Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman that New York is his preferred landing spot. It's possible that New York may be the only place St. Louis is willing to go, though his reported trade request last month indicates he is not happy with his current situation.

St. Louis reportedly asked out of Tampa Bay after he was snubbed by Yzerman -- also the GM of Team Canada -- when his boss named the 2014 Olympic squad. St. Louis was later added to the gold-medal winning team as an injury replacement for Lightning teammate Steven Stamkos.

The Rangers have interest in the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner, and that interest may have been renewed given the slow progress toward a contract extension for Callahan. The two sides continued to talk Tuesday, but nothing is imminent.

Callahan, a pending unrestricted free agent, is seeking a six-year deal worth between $6.25 million and $6.5 million annually, a source confirmed to ESPN.com. The Rangers have been willing to offer Callahan a six-year deal at $6 million per year.

Though that does not make it look like the sides remain far apart -- essentially, it comes down to squabbles over a maximum of $500,000 per year and $3 million over the life of the deal -- it appears this situation will go down to the wire.

A new contract for Callahan may become less likely if the Rangers think they have a legitimate chance at landing St. Louis, 38, who has 369 goals and 973 points in 1,041 career games.

Yzerman will seek a handsome return for his captain, especially considering that the Lightning are considered contenders in the Eastern Conference, where they sit in fourth place.

The Rangers also expressed interest in Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler. But as ESPNNewYork.com reported Tuesday night, Kesler has informed the Canucks that he will not waive his no-trade clause to accept a deal that would send him to New York.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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