Martin St. Louis might still be in play after all.
Speculation has swirled in the aftermath of a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post that the Tampa Bay Lightning captain requested a trade following his exclusion from the Canadian Olympic team in January. St. Louis, who has a no-movement clause in his contract, stipulated that he only wanted to be traded to the New York Rangers.
After being named as an injury replacement and winning gold in Sochi, it was unclear whether St. Louis still desired to go north. TSN insider Bob McKenzie, one of the leading information men in the hockey world, is under the impression that St. Louis' request still stands.
During his nightly segment on TSN Drive, McKenzie stated that he believes the request has not been revoked:
"The way I've been phrasing it for the last number of days is -- hey, if Steve Yzerman or Martin St. Louis wanna correct me on this, by all means do so -- but, my clear understanding is he asked for a trade. It sounds as if that trade request is still very much in effect and he asked for a trade to only one team: the New York Rangers."
Brooks' initial report also included this information, and added that Rangers manager Glen Sather proposed a one-for-one swap that would have brought St. Louis to New York in exchange for captain Ryan Callahan. Callahan, a pending unrestricted free agent, is in the final year of his contract, which Yzerman found unappealing. According to Brooks, Sather was unwilling to sweeten the deal with a package of prospects or picks because he didn't want to allocate those resources for a 38-year-old.
The result was Yzerman's rejection of the trade.
St. Louis ominously commented on the report early Wednesday, stating that he has had conversations with Yzerman about his future with the club and that he wouldn't be commenting on the subject any further.
St Louis addresses trade rumors with brief answer "I've had conversations with Steve about my future with the team and I'll leave it at that— Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssonTBO) February 26, 2014
St. Louis' preference to join the Rangers is believed to be based in his desire to be closer to his home in Connecticut.
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Now, this situation appears to be in response to his not being named to Canada's Olympic team, of which Yzerman was the general manager. St. Louis openly expressed how badly he wanted to be on the team, and was just as open about his disappointment at being left off.
St. Louis has a no-trade clause, so if he only wants to go to New York, then he can make sure that he only goes to New York. At the same time, Yzerman doesn't have to trade him if an offer doesn't develop. The Lightning are a legitimate contender in the East, and St. Louis is a big reason why.
Hockey people usually appreciate the requests of other hockey people, but Yzerman might have to disappoint St. Louis for the good of a team yet again.