The Tampa Bay Lightning traded captain Martin St Louis to the New York Rangers just hours before Wednesday’s National Hockey League trade deadline, while welcoming back injured star Steven Stamkos.
Other major moves saw the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Slovakian winger Marian Gaborik move to the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Islanders trade Austrian left wing Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Rangers swapped captains with the Lightning, sending Ryan Callahan, a first-round NHL Draft choice for next year and a conditional second-round pick in this year’s draft in exchange for St Louis, who has 369 goals in 1,041 career NHL games.
St Louis, the 38-year-old reigning NHL scoring champion, reportedly asked to be traded after Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who selected the Canadian Olympic squad, left him off the original lineup.
Yzerman had also snubbed St Louis for a spot on Canada’s 2010 Vancouver Olympic gold medal team and although St Louis joined this year’s squad as an injury substitute for Stamkos, who is just now back from a broken right leg, he was mainly a reserve in the gold medal lineup.
St Louis, who helped Tampa Bay win the 2004 Stanley Cup in a season when he was named the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, has 29 goals and 32 assists to lead point production for the Lightning this season.
While St Louis is to reunite with former Tampa Bay teammate Brad Richards on the Rangers and has one year remaining on his contract, Callahan remains set to become a free agent at the end of the season.
Callahan, 28, played for the US at the Sochi Olympics last month. He has spent his entire eight-year NHL career with the Rangers, scoring 132 goals and setting up 122 others over 450 games. He has 11 goals this season.
Tampa Bay also announced the return of Stamkos, who was injured in a 3-0 loss at Boston on Nov. 11 last year. Stamkos, 24, led the NHL with 14 goals at the time he was injured.
Gaborik, 32, has 342 goals in 791 games with Minnesota, the Rangers and Columbus, who sent him and cash to the Kings for forward Matt Frattin and two draft picks.
In other moves, Washington landed goaltender Jaroslav Halak from Buffalo, who obtained him from St Louis a day earlier for Ryan Miller. Columbus obtained defenseman Nick Schultz from Edmonton and Pittsburgh added German center Marcel Goc from Florida.