Revisiting the Callahan-St. Louis Trade

On the day of the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager, Steve Yzerman, was forced into making a blockbuster trade. His captain, Martin St. Louis had requested a trade from the Lightning, while they were battling for a top playoff spot in the East.

As executive director of Team Canada’s Olympic ice hockey team, Yzerman had left St. Louis off the roster, as an injury reserve player, in two consecutive Olympic games, in 2010 and 2014. A sour relationship reportedly stemmed from this between St. Louis and Yzerman, strong enough to force St. Louis to request a trade from the team he had been apart of for 13 seasons. The team he had captained and the team he had won his only Stanley Cup with.

So, Yzerman made the best of a bad situation and traded his captain for the best deal he could find.

The Trade:

Tampa Bay Lightning trade Martin St. Louis and a conditional 2nd round pick to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan, a 1st, and conditional 2nd and 7th round picks

The trade come very close to working out perfectly for St. Louis and the Rangers, as they made it all the way to Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals before being eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings. As for Tampa Bay, they were shockingly swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.

The New York Rangers
The New York Rangers and Martin St. Louis won the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers would receive Tampa Bay’s 2015 2nd round pick only if Callahan re-signed there, which he did, meaning the Lightning would get back the Rangers 2015 7th round pick. The conditional 2014 2nd round pick would turn into a 1st round pick if the Rangers made the Conference Finals in 2014, which they did. So, the Lightning ultimately got Callahan, two 1st round picks and a 7th round pick in return.

What Did the Picks Turn Into?

2014 Tampa Bay Lightning 1st round pick:

Tampa Bay received this pick because the Rangers got to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Lightning traded away the pick to the Islanders for the 35th and 57th picks. Joshua Ho-Sang was selected 28th overall. Tampa selected Dominik Masin and Jonathan MacLeod with their picks.

2015 Tampa Bay Lightning 1st round pick:

The Lightning traded away the pick to the Islanders for the 33rd and 72nd picks. Anthony Beauvillier went 28th overall, while Tampa Bay chose Mitchell Stephens and Anthony Cirelli with their picks.

2015 Tampa Bay Lightning 7th round pick:

The Lightning received the pick because they re-signed Ryan Callahan.

Tampa Bay traded this pick to the New York Rangers for Daniel Walcott. The Rangers dealt it to Edmonton, who selected Ziyat Paigin 209th overall.

2015 New York Rangers 2nd round pick:

New York received the pick because Tampa Bay re-signed Ryan Callahan.

The Rangers traded away the pick to Arizona in a deal for Keith Yandle, who later traded it to the Calgary Flames. The Flames selected Oliver Kylington 60th overall.

Edge: Tampa Bay Lightning.

Although neither team used any of the picks received form the trade, the Lightning picked up far more assets than the Rangers did, largely because they owned three picks to the Rangers one.

What Have the Teams Accomplished Since the Trade?

New York Rangers:

In 2014, the New York Rangers finished second in their division with 96 points before going on a run to the Stanley Cup Finals where the lost in five game to the Los Angeles Kings.

In 2015, the Rangers won the Presidents Trophy as the team with the most points in the league in the regular season with 113. In the playoffs, they once again reached the Conference Finals, but were ousted by none other than the Tampa Bay Lighting in seven games.

Rangers celebrate
The Ramgers captured the Presidents Trophy in the 2014-15 season. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Tampa Bay Lightning:

In 2014, the Tampa Bay Lightning finished second in their division with 101 points, but were promptly swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens.

In 2015, the Lightning were second in their division again, with 108 points. In the playoffs, they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, but were defeated in six games by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Edge: New York Rangers.

Both teams have a combined 209 points in the two regular seasons. They each reached the Stanley Cup Finals once and lost. The Rangers get the very slight edge thanks to their President sTrophy win and the fact they got to at least the Conference Finals in both years.

St. Louis vs. Callahan:

Martin St. Louis:

While St. Louis struggled upon arrival of New York, scoring just one goal and eight points in the remaining 19 games of the 2013-14 regular season, he picked up his play in the postseason. He scored 8 goals and 15 points in 25 games, good for second on his team in scoring. This past season, he continued to play at a level lower than what fans were accustomed to in Tampa Bay. St. Louis still scored 21 goal and 52 points in 74 games, a very respectable total for a 39-year-old. However, he began to struggle again in the playoffs, only scoring one goal and seven points in 19 games.

Ryan Callahan:

When Callahan arrived in Tampa Bay, it took him little bit of time to find his role. In the 20 remaining regular season games in 2013-14, he scored six goal and 11 points. While the Lightning were being swept in the playoffs, he failed to register a single point. However, this season was a different story. Callahan tallied 24 goals and tied his career high in points with 54. In the 2015 playoffs, struggles set in as he only scored two goals in 25 games. One thing to remember is that he was playing through multiple injuries including coming back from an emergency appendectomy.

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Ryan Callahan tied his career high in points this year with 54. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Edge: Tampa Bay Lightning.

Despite putting up fairly even amounts of goals and points, you must remember, St. Louis’ game is to produce goals. Meanwhile, Callahan’s is more to play a two-way game, blocking shots and adding a physical aspect to his team’s game. Callahan stuck to his style while also putting up very respectable totals. He simply went above and beyond the expectations of himself.

Future Impact:

New York Rangers:

Although this trade may have worked well for the Rangers present success, it is a different story for the future. Martin St. Louis has just recently retired, leaving them with very little to show from this trade. The 2nd round pick they received was a small part of their acquisition of Keith Yandle, but they likely would’ve been able to make the deal go through without it. So, they virtually have nothing left from the trade.

Tampa Bay Lightning: 

As for the Lightning, they have Callahan locked up under contract for another five years. At 30 years of age, he still has a ways to go in his career and should be apart of another run for the Cup with the Lightning. Tampa also drafted four solid prospects when they traded away both 1st round picks they acquired from New York. MacLeod and Masin are currently ranked as their third and fourth best defence prospects, respectively, by Hockey’s Future. Stephens also projects to be a solid two-way leader in a few years.

Johnathan MacLeod
Johnathan MacLeod has developed into one of Tampa Bay’s best defensive prospects.  [photo: Tom Sorensen]

Edge: Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning not only have a solid top-six forward who plays well in all three zones locked up, but they also ended up with four good prospects from this trade. Meanwhile, the Rangers have nothing left to show from this trade. Tampa has the edge for the future by a longshot.

Who Won the Trade?

Tampa Bay Lightning:

In the end, the Tampa Bay Lightning easily won this trade. Not only did both teams get to the same point in the playoffs over the past two years, but Ryan Callahan actually performed better than St. Louis, individually, since the trade. Furthermore, the Lightning are set up much better for the future, thanks to four great prospects they got from this trade, as well as locking up a top-six forward for five more years. Meanwhile, St. Louis retired, leaving the Rangers with nothing.

Who do you think won the Callahan-St. Louis trade? Let us know in the comments below!